Holidays After Death

Let’s just get right to it. I had an extremely hard time last week into this week. As a nurse, I deal with death quite frequently, but losing someone close to you is a whole other realm of grief. There is something about death that has had me in a plethora of feelings. I’d have to say that the first time I recognized that I was going through the silent trauma of losing a loved one was my grandmother, Doris. Some years later I lost my mom and nephew a month apart from my mom’s burial. That was three years ago and this year I’ve been feeling. Being a nurse has made me numb to certain things. Or I should say, I am capable of creating a barrier that allows me not to be too emotional when losing someone. Well, I don’t grieve all at once and it comes in ebbs and flows.

This past week something hit me like a freight train and I couldn’t contain it. I mean the feelings were so overwhelming that I didn’t know if I was coming or going. There was depression mixed with pain, hurt, and anger. I couldn’t even figure out exactly why it was or where it was coming from. I tried to hold on to the protective barrier I told you about, but one night at work I had to step away. I found myself locked in the women’s bathroom bent over crying my eyes out. When I stood up and looked into the mirror, I cried out for my mother. I could see her in my face and I told her how much I missed her and just wanted to talk to her again. As my “so-called” barrier crumbled before my eyes, I relinquished and sobbed until I couldn’t. Then I told myself to get it together, dry my eyes and get back to my patients. And so I did just that thinking it was over.

The next day at work I came in feeling extremely angry and full of this unknown painful feeling. I felt like I was going to cuss, scream, and holler at anyone who said anything to me. The charge nurse said something in a snarky way to me and I gave her a look while whispering a prayer so as not to get dismissed that night. I literally took a breath while giving this glaring gaze that said “don’t F with me tonight!” If she didn’t catch it, which I think she did, my nursing colleagues did. The team lead that night who is an amazing and helpful nurse was walking behind me. She quietly said, “Sharon, are you okay?” I said “no” and kept walking. She said, “yes, I know because you’re quiet and to yourself and that’s what I do when I’m not doing so good.” I kept walking but stayed locked in the doctor’s dictation room for the night. I was trying to do my charting, but the tears I was fighting back just started pouring out like a flood gate. I decide to listen to a song that came to me a few weeks ago by Jonathan Nelson & Purpose called “Manifest.” I put it on replay to keep my mind at peace and give me hope. It helped.

As I tried to figure out where my feelings were coming from, I realized that the holidays are here, and subconsciously, I am having a hard time coping with the many losses I have experienced. Holidays remind you of family, friends, and the times you share with the people who are close to you. This season can bring depression, anxiety, low energy, restlessness, and many other mental health symptoms. I’m still processing myself, but am understanding my triggers which is helping me get through it. What can I tell you about coping with loss during the holidays? Allow yourself to feel whatever it is you are feeling. Work through those feelings as best you can. Give yourself time because you can’t hurry the grieving process or the feelings that accompany it. Cry if you need to, pray, meditate, read, listen to music, or whatever relaxes you and keeps you in a peaceful state. There is no one fix to all solutions. It basically boils down to you finding what works best for you. It may also help to have someone to talk through your feelings with if that helps. Sometimes we try to keep everything inside and that can leave you ready to burst open in a not-so-positive way. Trust your gut, work through your emotions and take the time you need. I’m not there yet, but I’ve had the last three days off and that has given me time and mental rest which is what I needed. So, I’m starting to feel a little better. Don’t ever give up on yourself because you matter and this too shall pass. May God grant you sweet serenity during this holiday season as you process whatever your struggle is. Peace and blessings to you.

Until Next Time,

Published by ShesThatRN

I am an RN working on my DNP, preparing to launch several aspects of my new business and writing and getting ready to publish my first book. I love to write so blogging seemed like a great way to naturally express myself and publish my journey as a nurse.

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