My therapist has suggested that I am holding on to the grief I feel for my brother to keep him close. My sister Ali and I have discussed this and she has asked a lot of questions via email on this. I have to say that her questions always help me as they lead to more. Sometimes from her and sometimes from myself. Having someone to push me to look further is something that I need. The reason being that I have a habit of stopping when I get an answer and before it gets to difficult or painful.
Back to the question of holding on to my grief. I have to say that I don’t think that is the case. When Sean first died I was in shock and then all I felt was guilt. Guilt for the things that we taught each other in life that made him the man he was and therefore put him in the jeopardy that led to his death. The first year to two years after he died there were so many ceremonies. I worked and went to ceremonies all over the country. I stuffed my grief. I ignored it. I was strong because that was what I was told I was and what everyone expected of me. Complete strangers expected so, being a people pleaser, I pleased. Of course now it has come back to haunt me.
I don’t know how to grieve. My opinion is that most of us don’t. We live in a society that focus on pleasure and ignores that the unpleasant is an inherent part of life. Ignoring it doesn’t make it go away. All ignoring does is make it harder to deal with. In my case I am now petrified of grief on some level. What happens if I start to grieve? I mean grieve for anything or anyone. Saying this I now understand why my depression took on an angry and dead path. I have done everything I can to kill the part of me that feels intense sadness. In taking this path, either consciously or unconsciously, I now have the consequences to deal with.
First let me say that my therapist will say that my actions were a form of protection and self-care and he is correct. With my background, programming and the situation I was in I did what I had to for survival. The issue that is coming back to haunt me is that I find myself doing everything I can to isolate myself from anything that could open that Pandora’s box. People who mean the world to me are being pushed away in subtle ways. Opening myself up to new experiences, like dating, is taking a back seat. Even going out of the house in some ways is becoming less appealing. I feel safe here.
The problem with the above is that the box rests within me. Isolating myself and attempting to hide from any possible pain is ignoring that the ticking time bomb is something I carry with me every where I go. I could say that my attempt at isolation is to reduce the risk of collateral damage, but that is a lie. The collateral damage is occurring now. I am hurting people who mean so much to me and that is something that having realized is unacceptable. So of course the next question is what do I do? I have no idea, but I think the answer lays in the box. I just have to get the nerve to open it.