Grieving without Sugar (Whole30 Day 21)

How do you react to people when you’re sad? I think I shut down. When I’m really sad I don’t have the energy to deal with other people. Even something as simple as making a phone call or answering a few questions can feels like a huge undertaking. When something tragic happens in my life I deeply appreciate people’s sympathy and care (and I have lots of people who care for me). But it’s hard for me to put my sadness into words.

This has been a pretty sad year so far. I’m not normally this much of a downer. In fact, I’m a pretty optimistic person overall. If anything, I see things a little more positive than they truly are. But this has been a tough year. My mom died in January. She had some health problems for a few months, but the end came rather quickly. One day we were told that she probably wouldn’t make it through the year, and then five days later she was gone.

black-and-white-1819676_640The last days of her life she wasn’t really mentally coherent. I had my last real conversation with her about ten days before she died. It was a good last conversation. We talked about some adult things and some real issues. It wasn’t a conversation about sports, current politics, or how cold the winter was. It was a conversation about our choices, our emotions, and (sadly) the future. It was a good last conversation.

It’s not my first last conversation with a parent. My dad died about eleven years ago. I remember our last in person conversation. I didn’t know that it would be the last time I would see my dad, but it was a real conversation. It wasn’t quite as real as the one with my mom, but it was meaningful.

Once someone is dead, you can only remember conversations. You, obviously, can’t have any new ones. Sure, you can play out conversations in your head and guess what the other person might have said. But they are gone and they are not coming back. So, you have the memories of things you said and things you didn’t say. You have the memories of good moments, sad moments, and confusing moments that you may never be able to understand.

My mom has been dead for less than a month. I’m still grieving. And I’m on this stupid diet. I can’t even drown my sorrows in half-a-dozen donuts or a large pepperoni pizza. And maybe that’s a good thing (and not just because of the health benefits). The Whole30 is all about resetting your habits and refocusing on what matters to you. When someone dies in your life it makes you do the same thing. For some reason, being on this diet has reminded me that I need to face my mom’s death head-on. I can’t bury my emotions. I have to deal with them. Just like I have to deal with my dependence on Altoids, I have to deal with my grief and sadness.

Thanks for listening. It’s all part of the process.

I’m writing about the Whole30 everyday. Come back for more tomorrow.

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