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Each one copes in his/her way with grief. The way I try to cope is to keep busy. As I don’t have any kind of job, and now practically no kind of obligation whatsoever, keeping busy now entails a great deal of socializing, a great deal of reading, and as much writing as I could manage.
Yet it is not working very well. Wherever I go, whatever I do, whoever I am with, I am still carrying within me my core of grief, which erupts to the surface at the most unexpected moments. I talked to a cousin, a practicing psychologist, who said that this is absolutely normal, and will continue this way for some time. Ok. So the best I can do is tolerate myself. Give myself leeway to get the grief out of my system, without being too hard on myself, or even try to hurry it up. But this last week something came out of left field that took me completely by surprise: a very alien feeling of insecurity and fear.
When my Father passed away, I remember my Mom having this feeling and in my ignorance, did not understand it or where it was coming from. Now that I am going through it myself, I am beginning to understand. My Mom feared EVERYTHING. She feared the future, she feared the kind of life that she faced, she feared for the finances, she feared for her security and even physical safety. I tried my best to reassure her as much as I could, but could not have known that what she was going through was normal after losing the person whom she totally trusted and fully depended upon.
My case is different. Over the past couple of decades I was the one taking care of everything, including my Mom. I carried my responsibilities seriously, I had a full time job, took care of everything to do with running the house, and even took care of the family inheritance on my Father’s side, so definitely not a shy wall flower, but a practical, strong person who coped, and coped well. So now, this totally strange feeling of fear, of insecurity, of being lost is very surprising to me. So, as is my habit, I mulled over it and am now purging it by writing about it.
My first hint of that fear came when I had to call the lawyer and start the legal ball rolling. Though I immediately went about doing what he asked me for, I started getting a bit worried as there were indications that I might have some interference in my inheritance from my Mom. Years ago she had made sure that I would have no problems with that by going through the legal procedure of “selling” her property to me, getting a court decision that this sale is legal, and therefore the property is now in my name, free and clear. But that sneaky fear which ferreted its way into my psyche, made me envision the situation as dire and that I would be greatly impoverished and may not even be able to keep up my living standard. Add to that a glitch in the bank and a delay in the transfer of funds to my account and my whole world went down the drain. For two days and nights I went through hell, giving full reign to my fears, which, now, in the light of rational thought, sounds like total lunacy. I have my own independent income, I have my own properties, I have been handling all the finances for two decades and doing pretty well, so what on earth happened? Another phase, totally unpredictable, of my adjustment to my new kind of life.
I never realized how much I banked on my Mom’s presence in my life as an anchor, a protection, someone older who would – in my subconscious mind – take care of me and protect me. In other words, a parent. A rather late time to feel like an orphan, but that is exactly it. An orphan. My protector, my security, my anchor is gone. But as I was the one taking care of everything practical, my mind could not accept that, yet emotionally I am still vulnerable to those feelings of loss of security and protection. What surprised me was my turning it into financial insecurity. This really has no basis in reality, but even though cognitively I understand that, emotionally I still feel that now I have to be very careful with money, I have to reduce my expenses and make sure I have a cushion of cash. Although I do, yet I still cannot help this odd feeling of under the surface panic.
I have not yet experienced that fear for my physical safety, yet when I thought that my car was stolen I felt totally exposed and vulnerable, which was probably the reason I burst into tears when I finally found it. And I did get the fright of my life when my Mom’s bell rang during a blackout, but that was quickly resolved and I saw the humor of it.
I hope this phase does not last too long, it is extremely uncomfortable and totally alien to me, whether it is the part of fear and insecurity, or the part of keeping a tight rein on my expenditure. But I am learning so much about the many different aspects of grief, and, in the process, about myself.
3 April 2014