Grief flu / Live or die

Grief-crying, I just realized, is a lot like the flu. You have to throw up–it is not optional. 

I will feel it coming, just like you feel the urge to vomit coming. Preceded by thoughts of a warm little baby in pajamas in my arms. Little face, little fingers, soft, soft cheeks, and my enamored fascination, my love. Our little baby boy, his arms and legs splayed like the limbs of a star fish, his eyes dark like DH’s. Little baby mouth.


It hurts!

Was trying to make the bed (at 6 p.m.) and all of these thoughts came, and the giant, suffocating waves of sadness. Went into the other room. Grabbed a rolled up yoga mat and held it as the sobs came, walking and walking around the room in a circle, trying not to allow it to get so big I throw things and disturb the peace of poor DH. Then back to the bedroom. Grab a rolled-up fleece blanket this time. Hold it in my arms. It is a baby. I take it to the bed with me and cradle it, sobbing.

This just happened half an hour ago. Now I am sitting here feeling an awful lot better than I did before that bout. Just like you feel after you throw up when you have the flu…until it builds in your system again and you have to go running and heaving.

Must be having those post-cry endorphins right now. Natural pain-killers. It’s a strange world we live in, and our bodies are strange, our minds strange—all of it, so strange and awful and sometimes beautiful…

Yesterday I was thinking, “What if this is all a dream and I wake up and say, ‘Oh my god you won’t believe it, I had this dream that women grew babies inside them—they all went around with these bumps that grew bigger and bigger until the babies came out of their vaginas. Can you believe that shit? How fucked up is that! And this is the weirdest part—I wasn’t able to do it myself and this made me so sad I wanted to die!”

Sometimes I want to die. But not really. I want to stop suffering. And then I move on. I have a dramatic brain. I had intense emotions long before all this, and now they are galaxy-sized, because this loss is the worst one of all. “My baby,” DH said when I was grief-cry-vomitting. “You are going through living hell.”

It’s okay to have suicidal ideation and even homicidal thoughts when you are in extreme emotional pain. I know that. But it doesn’t make living it any easier. Those violent thoughts come and go, too, just like the grief flu. It’s not easy to admit, and I know these sort of admissions really terrify a lot people, but they shouldn’t. It’s just where some people’s minds go in an effort to escape the unbearable.

“I don’t want to deal with this using antidepressants this time,” I said, referring to the one time I went on Zoloft for a couple of months, when the crying was really bad, a couple of years ago. Or was it a year? I have no idea. Time.

“Okay,” he said. “I don’t think you’ll have to.”

He suggested I go to get a massage today, so I took that suggestion and ran with it all the way to my local masseuse, I’ll call her Connie, who is the best masseuse I have ever had. I pretty much won’t get a massage unless it is with Connie. She understands the meaning of deep tissue massage. She connects with my energy, and I connect with hers, and wonderful things happen in that room. She opened the window a crack today so that my mind-chatter would have an outlet. She asked me to picture it going out the window, which I did, for 90 minutes. Out it went, came back and zapped me, out it went again. I turned it into streaming rainbows and stars. I turned myself into a lion, at one point, that was wearing a crown of stars.

All I can do is invite positivity in. No more Coffee-Wine Express. Things are too serious now for such avoidant measures. I have to take good care of myself. I have to be careful with my body, mind, and relationships.

I talked to Dee about this yesterday. She said that at a certain point in her ongoing battle with alcoholism, she decided that she basically had two options: Live, or die. “Dying was a huge gamble because I did not know what death was like. What if it’s awful, you know? But I knew what life was like. I knew how to be a person made of flesh and blood and bones, walking around on this planet. So I went with life. And I figured as long as I was going with life, I needed to learn how to be alive in the best way I can manage. So that’s what I’m trying to do now: learn.”

She said that she has to be extremely careful with what she does with her time. She has to be extremely mindful because she knows she is still in a precarious place.

I’m in that precarious place right now, too. I’m going to have to start stretching more, going to yoga. I’m going to have to take a little melatonin if I can’t sleep at night—but not too much, because it can increase depression. I’m going to have to cut out Breaking Bad for a while. I only have two more days left around my boss (she is leaving, going to CO, during my last week and a half) so that is going to be an enormous relief. More massage. More fruits and vegetables. Less coffee. Things I was already planning to do, but now seem more important than ever.

Leave a comment


  1. I’m so glad your massage and your friend Dee helped to soothe you, and that your boss will be gone. Just wish I could give you a hug! XO

  2. 2 more days with your boss!! That sounds like amazing news. Your friend Dee sounds brilliant, what a great philosophy.

    I know things are awful now, but your handling it as well as you possibly can, and surely things will have to improve soon. Thinking of you.

  3. I am praying for you…

  4. Jen K

     /  November 18, 2013

    That is a perfect analogy…grief flu. I’ve definitely been so upset before that I’ve gotten sick on my stomach. It sounds like you are just allowing yourself to grief appropriately and on a time line that is healthy for you.
    I know there aren’t words that can fix things…but I’m going to keep reading…and I’m going to keep cheering you on!


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