Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Only Way To Truly Get Through This

Jenn Gilstrap of Campbell, Texas, wrote this on the one year anniversary of her husband's death. She was kind enough to let me share it on this blog.

How to get through the first year of suicide loss:

First things first, you have to buy a lot of shit. Any shit. Shit you need, shit you want, shit you don't need, shit you aren't even really sure you'll ever use. Ever. Seriously, I have no idea what I'm going to do with a glitter-handled screwdriver but I have one. Sure, I could open my own makeup boutique and I have enough clothes to dress an entire village but buying things...no...buying shit really helps. At least, that's what I tell myself when I look at my empty bank account.

Secondly, watching a lot of mind-numbing IQ-sucking TV is a MUST. Jersey Shore anyone? Nothing like fist pumping Guido's dancing next to desperate grenades to get you through!

Third, you have to learn how to sleep in really cramped quarters because housework and other trivial things just aren't going to matter anymore. My favorite sleeping position is the half-fetus, one-leg-off-the-bed-to-avoid-the-mound-of clean-laundry-I-haven't-gotten-to position.

Also, learning to love your own musk is key. A week without a shower early in the journey isn't uncommon so be prepared to smell. A lot. Those you love will try not to comment but you'll notice their faces anytime they're downwind and you have to reach for something.

Be prepared for out of the blue holy-shit how-did-I-get-here moments. That could be regarding anything. One second you're driving and you think you know where you're going and suddenly you're somewhere else wondering how on earth you wound up there. OR it could be a random conversation with a complete stranger that routes itself somewhere you never intended to go. Foot meet mouth. A thousand times over.

You'll be driven by loneliness and coupled with your inability to properly judge situations...let's just say things have gotten hairy more than a few times for me. There ought to be a warning label that comes with widows: Do not believe a word I say, it's all bullshit. I really don't want to do anything with you I'm just killing time and distracting myself. Thanks for that.

And lastly, get ready to go on a wild roller coaster ride with your body. You'll lose weight. Gain weight. Lose it again. Think you have it all down only to fall into another pit of grief and lose it all over again. Your body will do things to you...horrible, embarrassing things. Your stomach will grumble. Your heart will feel as though it's giving out. You'll sweat for no good reason. You'll feel nauseated at the mere mention of food and the only thing you CAN eat is Oreo cookies and French fries. And that's all in the span of ten minutes. While you're standing in line at the grocery store. Because it always happens in public.

 So to recap: buy shit, watch mindless TV, wander aimlessly, learn how to deal with your own stink, and make mistakes. Make lots of mistakes. Because if you're making mistakes it means you're learning. And if you're learning, you're growing.

And the ONLY way to truly get through this is to grow. 

Love yourself first. Remember that you are worth the effort. And always, always give yourself the grace and compassion and empathy you would give to a total stranger.

Jenn Gilstrap offers this disclaimer:

This post is purely for fun. It does NOT reflect anyone's experiences but my own. I do not sincerely recommend any of the following. Please take it as it's meant to be taken and do not take anything I say seriously. My sense of humor is part of how I've gotten through this year. I hope you can all laugh with me.