Monday, November 4, 2013

Coping At Its Finest

We all cope. We all have to. Some of us suck at it while others seem to figure it out. No
offense to those who struggle. For a first timer going through this whole death and dying process,
I feel confident I did a decent job at this coping business. There's always room for improvement...
and in my circumstance, I may not need to do things in such excess. But that's the way it goes. 
You live and you learn. Here's a little insight into my world of coping the past few weeks.

Just Do
During the process of a family member dying, I've told you before that we all take on roles. So
when I say "just do" I mean find that role and do it. Do it well, in fact. I have no doubt that
the Lord had a job for me in Papa Joe's last few weeks and when I came to realize what that job
was, I never looked back and I did it with all that I had. Even if it meant a little less sleep,
a little less time at home, and that my life would dwindle to the basics in life...I just
did it. Nike would appreciate me for that I think.

The Repeater Repeater
If I've told you the same story at least twice over the past few weeks and you happen to notice 
I'm going on the third time...just let me finish it. Number one, my brain doesn't exactly seem attached 
to my body at times so my bad for repeating things over and over. Number two, I've realized it's 
my way of coping. I've got to talk it out. And I mean really talking it out.

Sometimes that's just the way it goes. The more we talk it out, the better we start to feel. The more 
we talk about the neat things about our loved one's life, the happier the thoughts we leave 
ourselves. The more we think and discuss how they died, the neat coincidences seem to come
 through. And the more we tell people about our loss, about our loved one, or anything on 
our mind...the easier it becomes to move forward. So if you have to tell people the same story over 
and over, do it. I give you permission. And if someone tells you you already told them that story, 
then go tell someone else or continue to tell it anyway. They can suck up a few minutes of their 
time to help you out. Well, in my opinion they should.

The Obsessed & Compulsive
That night/very early morning we came home from the hospital I was not ready to sleep.
So many thoughts were going through my head so rather than laying down, I headed
to our basement and starting crafting. The crafting turned into a nightless sleep and next thing
I knew...I had several pairs of wrist wraps completed. And again, after the burial on Friday
and the funeral service on Saturday you can only guess what I did...made more wrist wraps. I 
got obsessed with the idea of making them (thank you Aubry), then my compulsion was actually making pair after pair after pair. Thank goodness half my family does Crossfit because
I'm not sure what I would've done with all the pairs that were laying around! 

If you find yourself doing the same thing over and over or having an idea, acting on it, and
getting a bit obsessed for a's cool. It only becomes an issue if it starts getting in the way of
real life and of course, if you never came out of your basement. Then we'd be concerned.

The Cry Baby
I've also shed my fair share of tears in my own time at first, felt like I was doing better, lost it on 
my way into work (this overwhelming feeling hit me and boom, I was toast), have felt better yet 
again, and then lost it when I saw a friend of Papa Joe's I met once (weird and why?). So yes, 
it's just fine to cry. And if it just so happens you end up seeing a man you've met once or maybe 
you get a familiar wiff of something that reminds you of your love one...well then go ahead, 
lose it. I won't judge. I can't guarantee others won't, but who cares. However, I will tell you it is 
slightly weird how those moments come quick and next thing you know those damn tears are 
running down your face. More than you'd even like and sometimes, not knowing when they'll 
stop. Those moments become fewer and fewer over time and there's nothing wrong with that.

The Jokster
I'm not a good joke teller nor am I really funny. But what I will tell you is that sometimes we
need to take those certain moments and laugh at them after our loved one has passed.
It's ok to make fun or find humor in things that you wouldn't have laughed at during the moment,
but for some reason they come back to you now and give you a good laugh. I'm all for that.
Laugh at the things like how much of a penny pincher he was or all the leftovers she'd serve the
next morning (those good ol' surprise breakfast meals!)...share your stories, laugh at them,
and find humor in it all!

That word may have been made up. I couldn't come up with the word I was looking for that fit this coping skill, so it got this title instead. This coping, let's call it ability, seeing that some don't
have the stomachs to devour that much food...but nonetheless, this coping skill is EATING!
Holy cow, I nearly ate a whole one in one sitting it seemed like. At first I had no appetite
when Papa Joe was first diagnosed. It was a problem of not eating initially. That turned quickly
as I feel that my poor coping skill has been devouring anything and everything. 4 pieces
of gluten free pizza, several helpings of salads and fruit, gluten free cinnamon rolls with ice cream,
and what sent me over the edge was that final big glass of water! Hence the sarcasm
in that "big glass of water" that did me in. Again, probably not my best coping skill this go around,
but I don't care and neither should you.

this is only a photo used for my 'devour-ess' coping skill...
believe it or not, I didn't touch one of these candies!

It still amazes me how the last month just went by. Now you see someone, now you don't. Once 
they were telling you stories, playing the piano, or having a party for themselves...and now they 
aren't. Such a weird feeling. Almost to the point where it isn't real. Don't worry, I'm not in 
denial...I know Papa Joe isn't returning. But we do have to cope with the loss. 

Like I said before, some of us move through the stages of grieving at ease and others not-so-much. 
We all need time and eventually we keep moving step by step, one foot in front of another. On
an educational refresher note, here are the steps of the grieving me, we all
hit each step and sometimes we even go back and forth through it. To each his own!
Welcome to the grieving process my friends...


I think I'm getting closer to wrapping up my whole run of blogging about all this death stuff. 
I've loved sharing this process of Papa Joe, his life, and his survivors...but I also realize 
that there comes a time when it's ok to move on. So for those ready for me to get out of
my morbid blogging, I'm coming around the corner. For those of you who shared your love 
of the past week of my blogging...I thank you for your kind words.