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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Grief Brain

Grief brain is a real thing.  (Google it.  Yeah, I was surprised, too!) A little over two weeks ago, the love of my life succumbed to cancer.  My mom (Surprised?  You shouldn't be; our moms are definitely our first loves--they love us unconditionally) died rather peacefully after a very short (3 months is all) battle with cancer.

My mother was 84 and didn't pursue chemotherapy because she wanted quality of life rather than quantity of life.  I'd say she accomplished that as she was only gravely ill for less than 24 hours.  The rest of the time she was laughing, eating, watching television and only someone who really knew her would even guess she was sick.

I was fortunate enough to be able to spend my mother's final week with her.  My principal is a wonderful man who said to me, "Family comes first" when I told him of my mother's diagnosis back in December.  I spent two weeks at Christmas, a few long weekends here and there and finally her last week with her.  The last week was lovely--I guess that may sound weird, but she was well enough to be good company and to let me pamper her a bit.  I rubbed her back and her feet and gave her a pedicure and manicure, which she loved.  We had real quality time together, and I have no regrets.

But my brain!  I have really struggled these past sixteen days.  One evening almost a week after she passed, I was going out with some friends.  I didn't have a key to my mother's house because I used the garage door opener.  Instead of driving that night, my friends came to get me.  I couldn't figure out what to do to be able to get into the house because I didn't have a key.  I considered leaving my car in the driveway.  That way I could take my car keys with me and then use the garage door opener to get into the house.  Then I thought about just driving myself.  I went around and around with the problem until it finally occurred to me just to TAKE the garage door OPENER.  Seriously.

I have been back to work a week today.  The past three days, I've searched high and low in my house looking for my mother's jewelry box.  Come to find out, I left it behind.  I didn't even pack it.  Fortunately, my youngest brother picked it up and took its contents.  My mom wasn't much for jewelry--she only had a few pieces, but still...!

I've left the house twice without my cell phone.  I left my reading glasses at home today.  I handed a student an eraser today when she asked for a pencil.  Yep.  I've lost it.

The good news is that I haven't lost it for good.  https://www.griefrecoverymethod.com/blog/1994/02/grief-affects-concentration-emotional-jet-lag   This article has wonderful information on the entire process.  "Emotional jet lag" is a good way to describe it.  Here's another good source of information:  http://www.refugeingrief.com/grief-brain/   

I'm at an age when so many of my friends are sharing this experience.  It's a sad rite of passage that we must all go through--but it's not easy, nor will it ever be.

(Oh...and for those of you keeping score: I weigh 144.  To date, I've lost 161 pounds.  Sorry to disappoint those who believe gastric bypass surgery doesn't work.  And it's been more than 4.5 years!)

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