This Is Your Brain. This Is Your Brain on Grief. Any Questions?

So this was my brain a couple months ago:

Everything is Awesome

And this is my brain now:


Dark, lonely, altogether less awesome. Except for Batman. Why is Batman there? Why wouldn’t he be? Okay, I think you’re missing the point – try to stay focused.

Interestingly, the broad array of emotions my normal brain had are gone. Now, I seem to have two settings at a time. For the last couple of weeks, my options were sad or strange, with really no other arrows in my quiver, as they say. Sad involves much crying and varying levels of hysteria. Strange was impulse driven and unpredictable. I think we should have champagne and Taco Bell for dinner tonight. How many chickens do you think I’m allowed to keep in our suburban backyard? I can’t decide on a movie…I’m torn between Sleepless in Seattle and The Exorcist. What’s wrong with me putting whiskey in a wine glass?

You get the point. You can guess which Steve preferred – and not just because he loves Taco Bell.

This week is different. I’m only crying every few days now, but I’m somehow sadder with my settings now being between anxious and depressed. (We should probably all take a moment to pity my wonderful husband for what he is enduring. Okay. Moment’s over. Moving on.) So in between moments where I feel like I’m verging on a panic attack and the ones where I don’t want to get out of bed, I’m lonely.

In all of my angsty self-reflection, I’ve put my finger on this loneliness. My mom and I talked about the details, the facets, the little things. We would put together that 5,000 piece puzzle to get the big picture – which is what I shared with my husband and my friends…the big picture. But my mom, alone, knew exactly what it was composed of – each thought, each worry, every hope and fear. I have supportive people in my life, but never anyone that cared about all the little things. Sure, partly it was because moms have to listen to your crap – it’s in the job description. But part of it was just who she was. Because she cared about your details like they were her own. So what the hell do I do with all these puzzle pieces now?

And there is no loneliness quite the loneliness you feel when you’re surrounded by people.

In other news, I was a little worried all this doom and gloom would make people stop following my blog. I have this to report: you all are a very dark and twisty bunch. But you’re my dark and twisty bunch. ❤

  12 comments for “This Is Your Brain. This Is Your Brain on Grief. Any Questions?

  1. jerbil
    February 13, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    You are welcome. 🙂

    • February 13, 2015 at 2:27 pm

      Well, I *knew* you were dark and twisty, Jerry 😉

  2. February 13, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    Whiskey in a wine glass – acceptable every time. There are no rules. And if there are, they’re meant to be BROKEN! YEAH!

    Steve – best.husband.ever. Right up there with Dave. Wait a tick, Dave’s better… the dog in bed thing. Sorry.

    ***But truly, I’m grateful you have that non-dog letter in the bedder to pick up the million piece puzzle. He’d probably look at the pieces and go, “WTF…I mean, I’m sorry baby…all these for Champagne and Taco Bell?” And you, slow turn to clueless puzzle piece holding husband, “Yes!!!! Yes!!! All THOSE for champagne and TACO BELL!!!!!”

    The puzzle. Perfect. Is it better to stuff the pieces? But then so full you feel sick to your absolute core? What if the puzzle pieces are scattered about, everywhere? Ugh, then they’re visible, and you’re forced to sit and stare at every single (loving, teaching, bickering, funny, goofy, silly, wth, huh, mom?!?) one. Which is worse? A visual representation, or the stuffed version. It’s all bad and sad right now, and I believe to a degree forever. The beautiful non-stop, back and forth has gone silent, and for that I am sorry. I wish I could hug you. And me too. We need a hug. Of course you more so than me.

    Get the chickens. The answer is, you can have as many as you want. Throw in some ducks too. They’re so cute. Just be careful of the dogs with your new chickens and ducks. Take it from Dave’s sister, they don’t mix X2. You’d think after 1 – she’d get it? Who knows, she has 4 kids, that’s a lot to watch.

    The loneliness. I love Pink’s lyric, “Leave Me Alone I’m Lonely.” I’ve been experiencing that since Aviana died. Especially since coming to Tahoe and really figuring out what to do with me…without her.

    Tell me The Exorcist won? Please?

    I love you.

    • February 16, 2015 at 10:34 am

      Thank you, Jen, as always 😉

  3. Madelynn
    February 14, 2015 at 7:59 am


    I know that it seems like you may never leave this crazy dark, emotional roller coaster that you are riding. Please know that there will be time when you get off of the ride and watch it go by. At some point you wont even watch it any more you will just remember that once you were on it… And then you will think of your mom and smile and how lucky you were to have for your mom… of course tears will be shed in the process.

    Eleven years ago, my heart was broken with the loss of my little one… My heart was broken and my life was broken. I thought that I would never feel happy or complete again…. it was such a transition that went altogether too slow.

    Somehow, time, prayers, family, friends and the fact the life keeps moving along helps the process.

    Bottom line to the story…. whisky in a wine glass has its place with pizza.

    Take care, my friend.

    • February 16, 2015 at 10:43 am

      Thank you, Maddie ❤ I can't believe it's been 11 years. It's so great to see you and your happy family in your Facebook pics.

      I guess I do feel the shift…however agonizingly slow. I have moments that make me not just logically know that I'll get better (because, obviously, I get that) but that are like a glimpse of light through the shadow…the light of your old life when you were happy and whole…and I know I'll find my way there again. Just time. And whiskey with pizza 😉

  4. A.PROMPTreply
    February 14, 2015 at 8:17 am

    Perhaps it’s time to make the conscious decision that you’re going to have to make new routines and find some new places to put those puzzle pieces for now. I see so much progress in this post and though I know it’s not progress you ever hoped you’d make, I’m still really reassured to “see” it. Am still recommending that journal writing (and btw….this post hugely indicative of all that you can do by writing things out….it’s amazing and I love those pix you included to show the contrast between then and now), but more importantly, I really think at some point, you’re going to have to make that conscious acknowledgement that you need new routines and new ways to handle things. It’s not leaving her behind….truly, it’s not. It’s taking everything she ever taught you and putting it to use to be sure you have the life she wanted you to. Remember, you’ll have alot to answer for if you don’t make the most of all she’s given you. 🙂 Also, if all else fails or you’re just having one of those moments when you can’t see forward…..Taco Bell and champagne works just fine as you already know! Hang in there. Your twisted and dark followers are here and listening to every little morsel you share!

    • February 16, 2015 at 10:52 am

      I was telling my husband (because my "loneliness" comment made him sad) that he is doing everything right – everything humanly possible, but that my mom was irreplaceable – because who else could I possibly talk to for an hour or more a day about everything and nothing? I was lucky to have it but I'm not sure I'll ever find another outlet for it. I'll be okay. I have days where I almost am. And days when I'm not. Eventually the ratio will shift and the good days will outnumber the bad. And, in the meantime, there's champagne and Taco Bell 😉

      • A.PROMPTreply
        February 16, 2015 at 1:10 pm

        I think you just paid your mother the highest compliment of all……how could we do any better at being human beings than by being irreplaceable? Well done. As for you, you recognize this fact and that alone is huge. Now, as you say, it’s a matter of shifting the balance from the side of recognition to the side of new habits. Easier said than done, but at least you know you’re going to get there!

  5. February 16, 2015 at 10:27 am

    I’ve been there Erin. If there was a magic wand for sadness, anxiety and grief it’s called time.

    • February 16, 2015 at 11:02 am

      Ain’t that the truth. The truest of all the cliché sayings…time heals all wounds. Two months down. I’ll get there.

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