From So Overjoyed to So Overwhelmed
I always knew that life was filled with tests & trials, ups & downs, mountain top joys and sorrows in the valley, but knowing I had my husband as my constant seemed to make the idea of facing all of life’s challenges so much more bearable and doable. We had the kind of relationship where life’s joys were doubled through sharing them and life’s sorrows were cut in half and made much more tolerable. We were by each other’s side through medical concerns, family drama, workplace frustrations, scary situations, fearful moments, parenting responsibilities, life’s daily stressors and so much more, and that made everything so much better and so much easier to handle.
Now, without my sweetheart by my side, covering me with his unconditional love and bolstering me with support, it seems like EVERYTHING overwhelms me.
Overwhelmed by my own emotions
This crazy mixed up mess of powerful emotions makes me so tired sometimes. Processing grief requires so much courage and energy. Facing the pain of the loss and working hard to take baby steps forward in life kind of feels like placing your hand on a hot burner. Knowing in advance how painful it will be to endure, yet choosing the pain. It is counter intuitive sometimes. And the energy is takes to sort out, process, and express emotions that can change on a dime is a kind of overwhelming you take with you everywhere you go in grief.
Overwhelmed by raising my children alone
Parenting requires 24-7 energy and attention. It also requires making an awful lot of decisions each day on behalf of your children and their best interest. The list is never ending. Decisions about their education and social development. Decisions about their nutrition, health, vaccinations, house rules and responsibilities, and the values and belief system that will direct the course of everything I do as I raise them. Decisions about TV watching, sleep schedules, how many extra-curricular activities we try to cram into a schedule, where we go, what we do, and who impacts their life. How do I discipline them? What battle are worth fighting, so to speak, and what is better to let go of? How do I keep their father a steady presence in their lives and continue his influence and legacy? Whew…I’m exhausted just typing this. Sometimes, I get decision paralyzed, lol. After a day of answering their many questions and making so many important decisions, my decision making muscles get maxed out.
Overwhelmed by managing this home
Lawn mowing, snow shoveling, car maintenance, home repairs, laundry, cat care, grocery shopping, meal prepping, medical scheduling, errands in town, family holiday gift planning, bill paying, budget keeping. Oh how I miss even the simplest of ways my sweet husband would lend a hand here and there and direct the decision making. When I was overwhelmed, sometimes all it took was just presenting to him the facts and my uncertainties. Then knowing he make the final decision and had the ultimate responsibility for the leadership of this family made such a difference. I miss that peaceful feeling of knowing we were in this together and trusting his decisions.
Overwhelmed by my future
Thoughts about the future used to excite me. Goals and dreams to pursue and share together. Now the future is kind of like being on a steep hike rated extra challenging and being afraid to look ahead at the mountain peak you will soon be climbing while also being afraid to look down. In grief, once you are on this hike there is no turning back. The only way to the other side is forward, through the pain, through the raw emotions, little by little, step by step.
And let’s not forget these other ways to so easily become overwhelmed in grief….
Overwhelmed by trying to figure out who I am, what is my identity now?
Overwhelmed by the painful trauma of the loss. This might look like flash backs at unexpected times, the overwhelming flood of panic emotions, or nightmares related to his death.
Overwhelmed by trying to find a balance, what personal hobbies can I fit in to help keep me sane in the midst of my already busy schedule? Can I make time for friends? Can I find a sitter once in a while to provide a needed break?
Overwhelmed by changes in my social circle. Sudden distance with previous couple friends or feeling like a third wheel can be its own kind challenge. Starting fresh with brand new friends at an older age can be refreshing and helpful, but also can feel daunting and intimidating when you were already so used to a comfortable group of friends and connections that had already been established for years.
So what about you?
Do you ever feel overwhelmed in your grief journey?
What overwhelms you?
When My Heart is Overwhelmed, Lead Me to the Rock that is Higher Than I. Psalm 61:2
In Hope & Prayers.
From This Widow Mama