Since the beginning of summer, I had been preparing myself for that week. I made sure work was light. I had my therapy appointment booked, and I scheduled a massage for the week before. I even scheduled some time, specifically for sitting with my grief.
But like Mike Tyson said, “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.” I had it all planned out. Self-care to the maximum, but it didn’t matter. There was something I forgot about grief. Grief’s little friend that packs a brutal punch to the face - EXHAUSTION.
It’s a sneaky son-of-a-bitch this exhaustion. At first, you think, I just need another cup of coffee, and I’ll be good to go again. But then you have that blessed, scrumptious coffee and…nothing. You’re still tired. Well…I’m just going to go to bed earlier tonight. And you do. That night though, even if you do manage to sleep through the night, you wake up more tired than you thought was possible.
You don’t notice it at first, but as the date of your loved one’s anniversary comes closer, you find it harder and harder to function. At first, you’ll notice that you have minimal motivation to do any work. Then, seemingly out of the blue, even making that fresh cup of coffee is complicated. After a while, the kids come to you looking for something to eat because they’re hungry and only the, do you realize it’s an hour past dinner time.
Our mental and physical bodies are so incredibly intertwined, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by the exhaustion. Grief isn’t only a mental thing; it’s a full-bodied experience. Right from the tips of your toes to the top of your head, grief impacts the whole you.
I wish, dear friend, that I could tell you that it was avoidable. That there was a trick to get your energy back, to feel refreshed again, to feel as if you were back at full strength. Unfortunately, there’s no magic wand up my sleeves. There’s no secret potion or chant to make it go away. It’s one of the things that will need time.
In the meantime, though, be patient with yourself. It’s okay not to be okay. It’s okay that you're tired. It’s okay that you’re hurting. Be gracious with yourself and others. Surrender to it, and don’t feel guilty about it, dear friend. It’s outside of your control. Your energy will come back; it will be restored and renewed.
So listen to your body. To what it needs. To what it is telling you. Don’t push yourself too hard or be reckless with yourself. You’re too precious for that, and so is your grief.