Matt. The professionals call it grief brain. I call it being hit in the head by a tornado. I used to call myself a smart girl. Once a capable human being. Able to care for the tiniest, sickest infant. Functioning at my highest capacity. Being a wife. Being your mother and fighting your battle like it was my own. Never missing a beat. Being able to rattle off a diagnosis and calculate the most complicated drug dose while working in the NICU. Today my brain is scrambled. Like an egg thats been dropped from the counter. My brain in pieces all over the floor. Shattered like the town that was once whole but now nonexistent.
All I remember is being wrapped in a fog. After hearing the words I’ve dreaded throughout your struggle with addiction. “It’s Matt, he’s dead”. I remember feeling like my body was no longer attached to my being. I was in another dimension. Unable to hear or feel anything. I felt a protective cocoon envelope my soul and I heard the door shut with a slam. My brain protecting itself from what would become my harsh reality.
I feel like I’m walking around in a soft, warm fog. Everything I used to be now a distant memory. I feel safe here. My grief cocoon. Surviving the first year without you has been excruciating. I try to break free of the fog. In my psyche I know I must come to a place in time where I can face reality. I just don’t know if I can survive. I’m told the brain protects us from overwhelming, crippling grief. I say thank God it does. I would have lost my mind months ago if my fog hadn’t settled over me like it does over the harbor on a humid night. Protecting my heart from the harsh reality of what has become of my life.
My nightmare keeps trying to break through. Reality continues it attempts to seep through my fog like blood soaks through a cloth. My brain continues to resist knowing I am consumed with disbelief and I’m struggling to accept my new reality.
There are days I feel like I’m losing my mind. Days I just cannot allow myself to believe there will be no more you. I’m having trouble believing I’ve survived a year without hearing your voice or seeing your smile. I go through the motions of life. I get up and crawl through the grief punches. I put on my mask to face the world but in my mind I’m gone. I’m told I made it through all the firsts. Like I should be given that purple ribbon of grief and put your loss behind me. It’s time to live again. What no one understands is that living is the most painful thing I do.
My grief has become a part of who I am. This first year has been the hardest time of my life. Brief memories find their way through my fog. Memories of us on the beach. Life before your demons took over. Memories of a mother and her son fighting for his life. Those struggles seem like a walk in the park when compared to the reality of my life. I go there briefly knowing that if I stay I will be lost forever.
Everyday is a struggle. I battle my demons now as your demons took you away. The guilt of the what if’s and I should haves spin out of control threatening to crash into my fog with a blazing light exposing me for who I really am.
Learning how to breathe. Learning how to pretend that I feel. Learning that I must go on without you. I feel like an infant needing to learn how to navigate a new life. A broken mother searching for the pieces of her mind. Settling back into the protective fog when grief whips her heart.
I’m told life goes on. I’m told the grief changes. I’m told it gets easier. For now my fog is a welcome place. I’m not ready to see the future without you. My fog wraps me in the warmth of loving hug. I will emerge when I’m ready. Until then I will allow my mind and heart to heal at their own pace. For now my fog is a where I need to be………