Friday, April 5, 2013

Don't Let Grief Steal Your Days

Today is a day of significance for our family... courtesy of adoption... and so today, for a little while... I'm allowing myself to grieve what Reactive Attachment Disorder continues to steal, from our adopted kids, and our family.

It is fast approaching 4 years after our adoptees' RADtypical meltdown and attack against us.  This year our "Adoption Day" anniversary had passed more than a month before I realized it had come, and gone.   I kind of consider that progress.  I kind of am surprised.  I had always treasured that date... the date of the beginning of our dreams come true.  That date, after RAD attacked, became a source of pain... and this year, it passed without anticipation, or remembrance.  It just passed...  We were busy, and having fun... and honestly didn't notice.  It wasn't an active effort to try and forget the date... I actually intended to honor that date.  It simply passed, unnoticed.

Quite a while ago, Hubby and I had a counselor suggest we schedule dates and times to grieve, so our adoption grief could be honored and expressed without robbing us of the pleasures available to us in every day life.

I was very surprised when my first "appointed day" for grieving arrived and I didn't "feel like" mourning... I was having too much fun.  Our counselor explained that was the point... "If the day arrives, and you don't feel like grieving, you don't have to..."  It seemed like her point was to not let grief steal our days.

Back when "scheduled grief" was prescribed... I giggled (a lot) as I envisioned how I might grieve who our living children had become.  I imagined myself dressed in black with a shawl and a hankie... mourning.

The days where overwhelming sadness would flatten me, I'd tell myself, this isn't the day nor time to mourn, but I will, at the appropriate time... then I'd begin imagining what that would look like... and start giggling again.

During my planning grief gigglefests decided I'd someday "light a candle" when the time to grieve arose.  I was raised in a denomination where one could put coins in a box and pay to "light a candle" for prayer intentions.  I remember my mom tearfully lighting candles for her prayer intentions, as we'd visit older churches that still had the red-glass votives.  As I got older, the candles became electric push button and the price to ignite was listed in dollars... I'd always found the concept that a paid candle would pray for me to be a bit weird, but when I envisioned what grief should look like... those candles were part of  the picture... even though they make me giggle.  

That same year for Christmas I got an OLD brass and red glass votive from a friend who had a knack for finding treasures and glitzing them up to make holiday gifts for friends who are dear to her.  Perfect!!!  Not perfect for my decorating style... not even my holiday decorating... but perfect as my grief candle.  I removed the holiday embellishments and set it up for our kids. 

I've placed the candle on my front entry table as a reminder when grief comes, there is a time to grieve, and when the time comes I'll do so... if I feel like it.  And I smile.

Today is the anniversary of a day of significance regarding our adoption... a formerly celebratory day, but a day I'd set to grieve if need be.  Today grief fits, not for the full day... It's a day my hubby and I have decided to celebrate with or without our beloved adoptees.

... And we WILL celebrate today...
                       but for this morning... 
for this mourning... 

I've lit a candle.


marythemom said...

What a beautiful concept. I'd like to link to this if you don't mind. I don't read your blog regularly, but every time I come here I find inspiration. Thank you!

Hedged in Beauty said...

You may absolutely link it MaryTheMom!!! Thank you!!!

Hedged in Beauty said...

4th anniversary of RADs' conjoined meltdown has already been earmarked as a scheduled day for grieving. When I entered that date in my electronic calendar, I secretly hoped there'd be no need to have it there... that our family would heal and we'd be back on our "happily ever after" as one big loving family.

I've had lots of opportunities this week to try and contain my RAD related grief... tears have been breaking through.

Just when I think I'm done with tearful moments and moved onto happier thoughts, hubby confides he's thinking about the kids and it's bothering him. I let him know he's not alone, and share my recent struggles.

Our oldest recently shared her "originally-intended-to-be-a-surprise" plans for a visit. I had told hubby after our recent visitor's left if any surprises were planned for our big celebrations that bookend this traumaversary, I'd REALLY appreciate knowing in advance... (it's easier to keep a house guest-ready, I didn't want to have to hurry up and make up the guestroom for visitors etc...) he encouraged our attached and loving daughter that I'd much more enjoy knowing that she's coming and looking forward to her visit.

Our oldest's visit this time will be short. (it's a miracle she gets as many days off from work as she does!!!) I plugged her arrival-departure information into my electronic calendar.

Her return date was already marked on my calendar "Grieve RAD."

This time, for this trip, for me and my honey's celebrations, I don't want to share her. I don't want to loan her our car so she can go visit our estranged daughter and the grandchild we technically have but have never seen. I'm having a big old internal pity party and I'm whining to myself far too much "what about MEEEEEEE?"

There is so much dang pressure on the 0 ending birthdays and anniversaries. This year our celebrations "should" be something special. (And they will be, but right now, I'm having a moment.)

And smack dab between the big-0 birthday and big-0 anniversary is the big 4 years "anniversary" of estrangement following false allegations that had my precious loving hubby arrested and spent our beautiful life spinning into the distorted MasqueRADe of RADinsanity.

I don't want to be in this selfish-skunky-funk for our daughter's visit. Yes, this visit will be short but we already have plans to see her again soon for Thanksgiving... then again for Christmas. We are so very blessed to see her so frequently despite tremendous miles that separate us.

This week there has not been giggles about anticipating my scheduled grieving. This week I've been thinking I NEED it to really happen.

Dear God, please don't let grief steal the joy that so rightfully belongs to these upcoming days!!!!