The Fulfillment Series

The Fulfillment Series

Thursday, July 20, 2017

What is Self-Soothing?

A few days ago, someone told me that dealing with loss is a good time to practice self-soothing. I nodded, but I'm not entirely sure what that means. Lie in bed all day? Stuff my face with pizza? Cry until my tears run out? These are things I *want* to do, but I *need* to walk the line between grieving for someone who's gone and living for those who are still here.

Deek tells me to be patient with myself, to take the time I need to grieve, and I love him so hard for his love, patience, and kindness. Sometimes I do lie in bed. Sometimes I do cry until my tears run out. And yes, I *have* stuffed my face with pizza. Twice.

I honestly don't know how to grieve. I've been fortune to have friends and family with long lifespans, so this is my first real, adult experience with this sort of pain. And he was my PaPa. The first man I ever loved. He used to take me everywhere with him, and I was happy as a clam to go. He was my PaPa, and I was his BabyDoll.

The first man I ever loved walks me down the aisle to the last man I'll ever love. 

In college, I took a really great class called Relational Communication. In one lesson, we talked about grief and how to respond to people in the midst of it. Our professor said people don't want to hear platitudes. They don't want to hear you're sorry. They want you to be able to sit with them in their grief. Cry with them. Love them through their pain. 

At the time, I didn't truly understand. Now I do. 

I guess this is where experience teaches more than academia. Where life is learned by living, not studying. But I say with my whole heart, this is a lesson I'd rather not learn. 

Yesterday, I spent the day with my Mema. We cried, we talked about PaPa, and we read some of the lovely cards friends and family had sent. But PaPa's absence filled the room.

If you are the praying sort, please pray for my Mema. If you're the good vibes sort, please send them her way. This woman lost her partner, her best friend, and the love of her life. They were together over 60 years--married almost 63. 

My heart aches, my throat closes, and a fresh wave of tears form when I think of her sleeping in her bed alone, eating alone, *being* alone. It breaks my heart because I know, I witnessed firsthand, just how very much they loved each other.

If you see me or talk to me and I'm not myself, know that I'm muddling through this tsunami of grief. I'm trying to figure out how to self-soothe, whatever that means. I'm trying to make sense of a world that doesn't have PaPa in it. And know that even when I reach the other side of this sea of sadness, I'll never quite be the same. Because like I said before...this BabyDoll is sorely lacking without her PaPa.

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