Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Growing through grief and a sleep over!

Anxiety  -1. Distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune
            - 2. Earnest but tense desire; eagerness

Both the above definitions of anxiety describe my feelings this week about upcoming events.  I'm eager and excited however also uneasy of the unknown the next few days will bring.

After experiencing my grief, or complicated grief, the feeling is legitimate.   I’m not a robot that I can program by punching a few buttons to stop the adrenaline from pumping through my veins.....even though I wish I had a metal heart some days....

There are two reasons why this anxiety has reared its ugly head this week;

1.    Dempsey has been invited to her first sleepover at her BFF’s house this Sunday – and of course I have this neurotic feeling of something happening to her…or that she’ll miss me and want to come home at some ungodly hour.(which I doubt) :)

 My rampant imagination of ‘worst case scenarios’ has been churning over and over.  The sense that I won't be in control of her fate to a certain degree.  But I’m sure she’ll be safe and enjoy sitting up late, giggling with her pajama clad BFF until all hours…it’s her mother that won’t be get any sleep I’m sure! :)

2. We have visitors arriving from Australia tomorrow, which I’m soooo excited about.   My BFF from high school, her husband and two children should be here by mid afternoon.  I haven't seen her in over thirteen years..... 

But you see her daughter is the same age as Savannah, 12!   And even though I’m thrilled and eager to meet her daughter, I’m terrified of how I’ll react…whether I’ll burst into tears and embarrass us all, or get to know her to a point of wanting to keep her….or finding out just how unfair it really is that I don’t have my 12 year old with me. I also know I’ll enjoy imagining…..just for a little while…….

One thing I do know is when these feelings hit I go into survival mode. I find coping mechanisms. I do whatever I need to do…and one of those things is D I S T R A C T I O N!!

So Sunday morning, feeling suffocated, I suggested to Peter we journey out for the day to the luxurious South Coast Plaza.

The stores are all high end, extremely up market…like ones that you’d see on Rodeo Drive…and nothing resembling anything in our neighborhood. So it was quite a diversion for the day.

Dempsey and I stood with our noses squashed up to the glass of the famous French jeweler Cartier…and fantasized which diamond sparkled the most….while Peter sat on a nearby bench like a pimp, not showing the slightest bit of interest in purchasing me a diamond! :)

love love love this crystal a mere $8,000 PD said, um "No Dee!" :)

We perused the many home ware stores, with Dempsey whining the whole time with a poker face….”When are we going to the kids stores Mummy? This is soooo boring looking at these lights!”

On level two Dempsey spied this huge bunch of colorful balloons for sale. They provoked a loud “Wow! Look!” from both Dempsey and me… about coloring your world with a smile!

We stopped for lunch at the famous Rainforest Café, where the life like jungle animals spring to life every five minutes. The elephants raise their trunks and trumpet at the diner’s. And the gorillas pound their chests and scream “Ooo ooo ooo, aaa aaa aaa”….managing to distract my thoughts and ferry me away to a jungle somewhere in South America…all while devouring a delicious juicy hamburger!

After a couple of hours of suspending my stresses, we’d had enough of looking at stores we can only dream about…it was time to head home. We made one last stop at the toy store…which Dempsey sprinted into.

And there inside a glass cabinet I found some old fashioned toys…this robot in particular! I had one just like him when I was a little girl. And it was like there in front of me was a subtle reminder of what I’d been trying to escape…he made me smile!

As I stood looking at this happy piece of metal it hit me that I can’t run away anywhere to avoid these anxious feelings...I have to tackle them head on.  They'll still be there when I’m alone.

But the little robot reminded me that like him, I can function on my own and will.  That by challenging myself to face my fears, growth and strength is generated.   And that growth will empower me to face and work through any future  anxieties my grief creates.

Friday is Dempsey’s birthday which will fill my anxious cup with sunshine….and tomorrow, I’ll hug Vicki’s daughter Bonnie, pop the cork on a bottle of bubbly and let loose my anxieties.  I’ll reminisce and laugh over some old memories with Vicki. 

And on Sunday, Dempsey will create some new memories through the exciting new experience of a sleep over.  But I’ll still miss my good-night kiss!  I wonder if her BFF’s mum will mind if I call around bedtime……:)


  1. Diana, Mum to Dempsey and Spirit Child Savannah it is wonderful to learn that you are human.
    It is lovely that you are facing your fears 'head on' and in spite of your concerns are moving forward, allowing Demps to go and have a great time with her best friend.
    You will survive this and be stronger after the event.
    Enjoy your time with your Australian friends.
    Love from across the seas xo

  2. Yes, if we could only be as compassionate to ourselves as we are to others when they are going through these challenges! How would you counsel someone else experiencing the same thing?

    It sounds like all of your emotions will be completely natural and certainly not embarrassing!

    We're so hard on ourselves. Be gentle. Let us know how it goes! xo

  3. Dear Chez,

    your comment made me smile...yes, I am human, unfortunately sometimes :)

    I think facing any anxiety or conquering any fears will help when the next ones arises...knowing I can and will get through it and be better for the experience.

    Hope you are in good spirits...I must swing by your blog and see how you are doing.

    Sending love and a healing hug Chez across the pond...would love a meat pie from our local bakery! :)

    Diana x

  4. Louise, thanks for stopping by.....your comment is very wise and I think I'll try to remember that next time. You are right, I would tell someone else "They'll be just embrace it and learn from it."

    I often think if my mum were alive and what she would tell me...probably what you've written, so thank you!

    Sending a hug and sunshine to you Louise, your blog inspires me and reminds me we are all fighting a battle but surviving and loving life, no matter what! :)

    Diana x

  5. What I wrote applies so much to me as well.

    I think it's so important for us to develop compassion for ourselves, and sometimes that's harder than for others.

    I would love to hear about your visit. Sometimes I find that by repressing my emotions (telling myself I 'shouldn't' feel this way), it makes everything so much harder than if I just 'sat' with them and let them be. Thanks for the sunshine. xo

  6. Louise, I know what you mean about 'applying it to ourselves' so true!

    I do try and repress emotions sometimes because it can be painful...I usually pick my battles these days.

    I know you understand about compassion and working through the hard bits....sometimes there are no choices on what we face, but I know when I do get through some tough days I surprise myself.....another fear conquered is empowering.

    Sending love to you, you do a wonderful, compassionate thing for others on joureny's of hardship and 'different' lives.

    You should feel empowered and comforted knowing you have helped others with your beautiful blog. From someone who appreciates it and has a huge place in my heart for 'special' children and their mums like you Louise.

    thanks for your support,
    Diana x