Grief, Makes Me Happy

On Grief And Gag T-Shirts

My Mom’s birthday was a year ago yesterday. It was a Saturday and she requested Outback Steakhouse for dinner but since we were in the first surge of the pandemic I ordered it for carry out and my daughter and I went to pick it up. I remember it very vividly because it was the first “carry out” we had done during the pandemic and she and I were blown away looking inside the window at the crowded restaurant with maskless patrons.

Mom ordered a blooming onion and steak and potatoes and when we got it back to her house she offered to share the blooming onion with us. Nikki had never had one and was suitably blown away by it’s awesomeness.

This becomes important in a few days.

We gave her a new fluffy blanket (My Mom could not get enough fluffy blankets) and we sat and watched football with her while she ate her dinner. She had gotten dressed up for our company and fixed her hair, something she never ever did as she was always in a dialysis depression. She declared it a really good day.

On Monday, she begged to miss dialysis. I called in her absence and they lectured us but she just wanted a day off after her birthday weekend. I was very frustrated because this had been happening more and more lately and she was feeling terrible because of it. Every missed dialysis (she went three times a week) led to her blood getting more and more toxic so she would feel terrible which would – of course – make her not want to go the next time either. I was bracing myself for this on her next dialysis day.

Tuesday she talked about skipping Wednesday too. This was not acceptable because her last session had been Friday, so we were getting into dangerous territory. She admitted she didn’t care, she was thinking she wanted to quit all together. She had a good holiday season and a good birthday, she didn’t think she could make it anymore.

And she didn’t. She died the following Sunday. 9 days after her last dialysis session. They didn’t think she’d make it a week.

I am currently living that last week over and over in my head. From her Outback birthday dinner Saturday night to her last breath late Sunday night a week later. A lot of flashbacks, a lot of grief, and of course this is all happening in the middle of another Covid surge and my kids are doing virtual school again and my husband sliced his finger open and is getting irritated with my constant sadness. “I’m the middle of a bad week,” I told him this morning, “It feels like we’ve had 52 of those,” he responded. It was harsh but he’s right. It’s been a rough year. As he pointed out later in the discussions, “It’s been a rough few years.” He’s right about that too. I think I’ve not been 100% stable since I started taking care of Mom in 2018.

So I’m going to try to focus on the things that bring me joy. Maybe avoid catastrophically depressing books. (Recent reads: The School for New Mothers and The Poisonwood Bible…not joyful reads in the slightest.) Maybe try to play more PokémonGo which I have abandoned in the cold weather. Maybe paint more. I don’t know. I need to find a reserve to tap into for the next week so I don’t just wallow in the flood of sad memories.

We’ll start with the t-shirt I got this weekend. Our family exchanged names in October and ordered each other gag shirts from Nice Shirt Thanks to exchange on Christmas Eve. E drew my name but the shirt got delayed until last week.

It was definitely worth the wait. He told them I loved reading, Twilight and Ted Lasso. I think they nailed it.

6 thoughts on “On Grief And Gag T-Shirts”

  1. I completely understand reading sad/traumatic books…I gravitate toward them and it’s not really helping my mental health these days! Try a palate cleanser like any of Samantha Irby’s books or A Very Punchable Face by Colin Jost or Yearbook by Seth Rogan. All of those had me laughing so hard my kids asked me if I was ok. Also, I need to take my own advice about palate cleansing books. 🙂

  2. It’s so hard to pull out of those spirals, isn’t it? Even when you want to, even when you’re looking for the rope to hang onto, sometimes it just feels impossible. I hope you find something that helps you get your feet under you. I definitely suggest some lighter, happier reading!

  3. When my brother died, my grandmother was getting deeper into dementia, and infertility had just become a definite thing instead of just a possibility, I was not doing well. My therapist had me do two things. First, make a list of what was actually necessary for survival – sleep, food, feed the dog and cats, drink water, and, in my case, it included taking a shower and showing up at work, because I was (always) the only breadwinner. Anything outside of that got done if I had energy. I bought paper plates. I just let myself do the absolute minimum for a little while. The second thing was to look for something that lightened the grey every day and write it down. The first day it was a tulip that was blooming outside the front door. Sometimes it took a lot of work to find something good. Knowing that someone would be reading the good things helped a little, because I didn’t have much internal motivation at that point. No idea if any of this will help, but it got me through a really dark time. *hugs*

  4. It’s not easy to lose a parent, especially not one you were close with. And helping take care of at the end of their life. And covid, omg, covid. It’s made everything feel surreal. I’ve started playing Pikmin Bloom. They make the CUTEST noises. AND! If you carry around your phone with you, it counts all of your steps (without having to feed your friend first). Anyway, if you sign up for Pikmin, I’d love to be your friend there.

  5. It was just the five year anniversary of my dad’s death, and anniversaries are hard. My dad and I had a complicated relationship and to top it all off, he died on my son’s birthday. So I focus on other things on that specific day, but it still makes for a rough start to the year every year that I just can’t shake. This year, I dealt with it by reading the Paladins series by T. Kingfisher. It really helped. They are fast reads, sort of fantasy and sort of romance. Paladin’s Hope, Paladin’s Strength and Paladin’s Grace. She is so funny, really great at dialog, and created a world that helped me escape. I’m now making my way through her backlist. I don’t know if they will help you, but I thought I’d mention them in the spirit of lighter reading.

  6. No book recommendations but wanted you to know I hear you. I agree about shifting the focus if you can. I also agree about gratitude. Abraham Hicks has also taught me however that if you are having trouble with specifics of gratitude in your life try to go more general with the thankfulness…..I am so glad none of the planets left their orbits and crashed into the sun kind of thing 🙂 I’m so glad the sun rose AGAIN.
    Julie A

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