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The Experience of Grief

I’m reading “The Grieving Process: How to Deal with Grief and Loss, and Recover to Feel Normal Again” by Barbara Suthington.  So far, she’s explained (very dryly) why we grieve and cry, and how to tell if someone is going through grief or depression.

Her theory is that we grieve with the same part of the brain that we love. Basically, we love someone and form a deep bond with them. Then when they are no longer with us we go through a type of withdrawal… as if we were addicted to the person we grieve.

She touches on some of the side effects: depression, insomnia, and eating disorders. (The list goes on, but I have other things to discuss.)

I’m often told that I seem to be handling Corey’s death very well. I’m not.  No one mentions the 100 pounds I’ve gained since he died. Nor do they see the lake of pills I fish through every day to help me dull the depression and anxiety I feel… they are what makes me seem so well adjusted, not that I’m healing.

I bought a Fitbit to help me lose weight and encourage me to move more often. All I’ve accomplished by using it is identifying that I only sleep in spurts of 1.5-4 hours at a time.

The thing that Ms. Suthington suggests I do? Be around people. But most days, it’s all I can do to roll out of bed and climb onto the couch. These are the days I can only deal with my own nuclear family.

Bob (my rock) forces me to leave my home. We go out to eat so I’ll have some sort of social interaction. There I choose to eat food that is not good for me… packing on pounds.

Did you know it’s impossible to cry when your mouth is full? (But I digress.)

When I announced this blog, I said I’d be brutally honest.  Well here it is.

I hurt on a daily basis. I help others because I can’t stand the idea of them feeling the way I did and still do. I can give them some comfort by helping them with the financial aspect of the funeral. I can give them a reference to a great counselor. I can tell them what to expect from the police and media. I can pray.

I can do these. Because they’re tangible. These are things I can DO.

What I cannot do is take away their pain. God knows I want to.

He also knows I want my pain to stop. What I’ve found is that no amount of food, medication, or human interaction can or will take this from me.


I have to live through this. I have to experience it.

It’s like birth. You know when you become pregnant you will have to give birth. There’s no other way to get that baby out of you! And everything anyone has ever told you does NOT prepare you for this.

You are absolutely right when you say “I can’t imagine what you’re going through”. It’s like a man taking credit for pushing a child out! A man cannot understand the pain that binds you to your child for the rest of your life. (NO I’m not belittling a man’s connection to the child… focus only on the comparison between birth and the inability to give birth!)

When you say, “I can’t imagine…” I always answer, “I don’t want you to.”

She is right, being around others is the fastest way to overcome grief. Every time I hold someone that’s been hurt by homicide, I feel a connection. It’s helping us both heal. They know from then on that they are not alone in their grief, and I know I’ve been able to fill that role for someone.

No, I don’t want you to understand my grief.

But if you ever have to, know that I am right here.

Gwen Carver

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