This post is a continuation of my generated list of 30 words that could be used to describe grief. Obviously this list relates to my experience with grief, so I am interested to see if anyone else can relate with some of these words. I plan on continuing this series of postings that will not only define these words, but expand on why I thought they would be good descriptors.
The fourth word I chose is:
Exhausting: Defined as “tending to produce fatigue, weariness, or the like”
It’s been almost seven years since the death of my daughter Katie and just at 5 years for the death of my son Noah. I can honestly say that there are still days that I feel exhausted. I use to be able to survive 16 hour work days and feel refreshed the next day. I have lost my ability to work long hours, mainly because my ability to handle high levels of stress has also gone away. I would suspect that it also has to do with the fact I look at life differently now. I try not to rush through my day like I use to before the deaths of my children. My desire to get the slap on the back “at a boy” that I use to strive for has also disappeared.
I remember shortly after the death of my son Noah my wife and I took 3 months off of work to start the healing process. During this time, we would often fall asleep holding hands because we didn’t want the other person to let go of us out of fear of one of us slipping away. We were not sure we could survive the loss of another child. We were still dealing with the first death, and now we had to find a way to survive this one. When we did finally fall asleep, we would sleep for almost 10 hours every night. We woke up when we wanted to. We didn’t have to be anywhere in particular since we had taken the 3 months off. I really don’t remember a whole lot from the summer of 2006, but I to remember I wasn’t able to do much. The only thing I remember is that I would bike and run almost every day or take on a small home project that would take me days to complete. I felt exhausted most of the time. I suppose my body was using all of its energy to help me cope with the death of Noah and Katie and it didn’t leave me much energy to do anything else.
Another issue that I have experienced as part of this grief and I guess it could fall under “exhaustion” is the fact that I have a difficult time staying focused. I have always joked about having Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), but the level of my inability to focus has become a lot more pronounced since losing my children. I can sit at my desk for hours and go home at the end of the day and not know what I really accomplished at work that day. It has gotten much better over time, but I still have those days from time to time.
The good thing is that when I am working on the Grieving Dads Project or taking classes to become a counselor, it invigorates me. Mainly because I know that I am helping others that are trying to survive the death of a child.
Anyone else experience levels of exhaustion as part of grief?