Scheduling Grief

“Do you think you could carve out 20-minutes a day to grieve?”

I looked up at my therapist after her suggestion and quickly replied, “Nope. I’ll pass, thanks though.”

It has become apparent that I have gone from intense grief to completely driving the denial bus. I haven’t shed a tear or grieved in weeks because I have convinced myself that GaGa is still here. We just haven’t talked. She is here, just a phone call away. Life has just been to busy to chat.

But she isn’t here and I know that. My heart, on the other hand, has built a brick wall around itself, shielding it from the undeniable truth: she is gone.

My denial bus is about to be shoved off a cliff this Sunday as I travel back to Baton Rouge. Living in Jacksonville, I am able to drown my grief in to dos, work and errands. I can’t drive down her street or see places that remind me of her. And most of all, I can’t go to the one place that my heart aches and dreads to go: her grave.

In the midst of my denial, I surround myself with her. Pictures of GaGa are everywhere – the walls, my nightstand, my office, my wallet, my phone – every. where. literally. I think of her every other second, instead of every second. She appears in my dreams in strange ways. She is with me.

However, when I feel that knot form in my stomach and tears start to sting my eyes, I immediately choke it all back. There’s no time for the grief. The kids have to be picked up. I can’t break down at the grocery store. The dog needs to go out. The dog is in the pool again. I have a conference call in 5-minutes, that isn’t enough time for a good cry. So suck it up buttercup. Life is moving fast and there isn’t time for this grief thing.

There are plenty of chances for me to sit down and feel the feels. But just like my 3-year old, I prefer stomping my feet, plugging my ears and saying, “NO!” I also turn on BravoTV where there is always some golden train wreck show for me to distract with.

Despite my uncanny ability to schedule my life while captaining the denial cruise ship, I know I am not doing myself any favors. Thanks to the (sometimes annoying) gift of self-awareness, I can only live in the cloud of ‘everything’s fine’ for so long.

So this is me turning off Bravo, closing out my email Inbox and sitting in the hurt. And to be perfectly honest, I am not hurting right now. I am okay – for now. It might pop up later (probably will). I am not writing to jumpstart a good ugly cry. I am writing to put my self-awareness into the universe. I am putting it out there to hold myself accountable to the only thing I know to be good and true: vulnerability and authenticity, meeting myself exactly where I am at this moment in my life.

This Sunday I will board a plane with Manning and Marjorie. We will return to the bayou, my home and my heart. And I will go to Gaga. I will see her gravestone and trace her name with my finger. I will cry. I will hurt. I will grieve.

…And I will be okay.

See you Sunday, GaGa.

Walking on a farm in Napa and I see just ONE sunflower standing tall.




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