It’s OK to not be OK. Feeling grief is normal.
These are my quietly whispered mantras when sadness creeps into my gut, and my mind, like a rubber band, snaps back into place. Shields UP, red alert, the tiny prickles of grief run across my skin and I just wanna hide under my hoodie ’til they warmth of its freshly washed cotton pushes the sadness away.
I was shopping today at a local chapel thrift store enjoying my day off. And boom, sadness crept in. Lately, shopping at thrift stores has risen an unsettling feeling, and I haven’t quite put my finger on it, ’til today. Thrifting is an activity I would often do with my mom in Florida, and the last few times I’ve thrifted with her hasn’t quite been the same. She’s fallen a few times and it’s just been more difficult in general to be around her with her dementia. Perhaps I’m sad remembering better times or just missing my mom. Either way, I want to figure out this annoying sadness, to box it up, put it on a shelf and walk away. But I know the more I resist, the stronger the feeling gets.
Mixing anxiety and grief creates a Battlefield of the Mind. I want to ruminate about feelings, whether they’re real or justified. Could the weird feeling simply be allergies, as I get light-headed because of that too? I then get hyper focused on figuring ‘it’ out, as if that’s even possible.
In these moments, I feel gripped by sadness, sone common underlying fear, reminding me I don’t feel OK. Then the mind says I have to cover up, put up those Shields, not wanting to look weak in front of others, but I can’t figure out why.
In writing these posts, I don’t like getting comments of people feeling sorry for me or asking if there’s anything they can do. I write because other grievers need to know that it’s okay to feel whatever they feel. I Googled ‘shopping without my mom, sadness and dementia’ before writing this post and got nothing. Nada. Not one blog came up giving tips on how to work through it.
So here is my best tip:
– Recognize that it’s okay to feel sad remembering how things once were. And doing an activity, whether shopping or something else one that you used to enjoy with a loved one who is now gone or far away is going to be full of emotions. If you want to try and label them, go ahead, but just know that whatever the feelings are, they are perfectly normal to have.