Mourning Sickness


It four in the morning and I’m up. Apparently grief has changed my ability to sleep for more than a few hours at a time, in addition to the other chaos and havoc it is exerting on my life. 

This isn’t great for me because I’m really susceptible to sleep deprivation. Like, remember that time I tried to sell my newborn on the internet?

But I digress (probably another function of sleep deprivation).

I was saying to a friend that grief has changed my biological responses to things. Like sleep. And eating.  I wake with this perpetually queasy and anxious tummy. My head hurts.  Food tastes different, like it’s wrong or spoiled.  It turns my stomach.

Even my heartbeat feels erratic, rushed, wild.  

I’m not particularly worried about this.  I know I’ll sleep eventually, and I have 30 extra pounds I could stand to lose, so it’s not like I’m going to damage my health.

I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  But until I get to it, it’s pretty freaking uncomfortable, messy, and frustrating. 

I’m a person who likes order and control, afterall. So to be throwing myself head first into the ugly business of death is different and difficult, to say the least. 

It reminds me of a perpetual hangover, although I’ve consumed no alcohol.  And do you know what that reminds me of?  Morning sickness.

When I was pregnant with both of my babies, I had vicious morning sickness for the entire first trimester, more so with my daughter than with my son.

It was like my body staged a revolution and revolted against the way it had always been. 

But I had faith, even on the worst days when I could barely stand up, that it would eventually go away and something beautiful and miraculous would happen as a result of that hardship.

Mourning sickness.

Get it?

I went to E.’s grave this week on a really bad day.  I’d been crying all day for a variety of reasons, mainly because I had news and I wanted to share with E., and I couldn’t pick up the phone and call her.

I knelt at her grave and fell forward sobbing with my head in the grass.  I wept until I could barely breathe, curled in a ball at the head of her plot, where I’d placed a purple, potted mum.

When I finally came up for air, a dragonfly alighted on one of the flowers.

I gasped and startled it away, but all of a sudden there was peace in my heart, a sense of my heartbeat slowing and returning to a normal rate. 

E. wore a dragonfly pin on her wedding day, and was buried in her wedding dress with the pin in place.

How could that be merely coincidence and not some sort of stunning miracle?

How could it not be her, tenderly reaching out to set my heart at ease, a shred of order and connection amongst the maelstrom of pain and loss?  

Some of you might be rolling your eyes and saying, “There she goes writing about grief again.”  

I get it. I’m starting to bore even myself. 

But that’s how I process. I’m going to obsess and cry and mourn and wail until it feels right to stop and return to my regularly scheduled program. 

I’m going to continue loving, and looking among the wreckage for those little signs, with every beat of my broken heart. 


Posted as part of the WordPress daily prompt challenge.

Chaos | The Daily Post

5 responses »

  1. I love how real you are about this process. I know it will help so many people who are going or have gone through this kind of grief. Don’t apologize for being human & authentic in what you’re going through. This kind of heartbreak isn’t something that you can “get over”. Keep writing.

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