I had been thinking for a long time about getting a 3rd ear piercing. But the really bright part of the idea was getting it in March. Since I had done the others years ago when I was a teenager, I really had no recollection of pain nor was I calculating the difference in age or general state of being I was in at the time of the piercing. If I had realized that it would keep me awake at night (because I sleep on my side) and take weeks and weeks to heal, I probably would have thought differently about it (or just thought about it, period). I was in pain for weeks before I finally realized that extra, self-induced pain at this difficult juncture of my life was not only NOT a good idea, it was a really stupid one! I took the earrings out for a couple days´ break and then - ciao - I couldn´t get them back in without pain & bleeding. So, I am back down to 2 ear piercings...sigh. (But I am sleeping better! )
This led me to think that my stupid decisions during grief might possibly benefit others...and thus, this post. Then again, the rest of you are probably smarter than me!
TOP TEN STUPID THINGS NOT TO DO WHILE GRIEVING:
1. Piercings & tattoos and/or any other potentially painful bodily markings or changes should probably wait til you feel pretty healthy. Just sayin...you may not make your best decisions right now.
2. Major hairstyle changes or any other major changes in appearance should also wait til you have a better state of mind for decision making! (A hair color change on me was frightening; my hair was weaker from all the stress and I regretted it big time!)
3. Let your husband prune the garden. This often doesn´t go well even in the best of times, but a man with pent up emotions with pruning shears in his hands can definitely produce some ¨unhappy wife¨ results!
4. Work on future calendar items with said husband. Take on any major home projects together. Make any big decisions together. Haha. While you can´t avoid all of this, try to limit it as much as possible as your style & pace of processing grief can be vastly different, complicating your already big differences in the first place. Sensitivities are high & capacity & energy is low so give your marriage a break and take it slow!
5. Attempt DIY memorial obelisks, cathedrals, monuments or other great architectural or artistic works in memory of your loved one too soon after the event. (Unless you ARE a great architect or artist.) You are all likely to be out of energy, patience, team spirit & camaraderie long before said work of memory is finished. You may end up with worse problems than grief on your hands!
6. Assume your way of grieving is the only way or the best way. Each family member´s process and pace are different. Giving space & support for each one - no matter how hard that may be for you - is vital to the family´s healing process. Grieve differently - but grieve together.
7. Conclude all the people who say stupid things to you (like ¨I know just how you feel¨) are really trying to be stupid. They are really just humans trying to say something - anything! - helpful at a very difficult & awkward time. You probably didn´t know what to say either until it happened to you. Grieving is extremely hard - but knowing what is appropriate to say is hard, too, and we should all extend grace to each other.
8. Get a pet. Any pet. A regular pet. An exotic pet. A black market pet. Any pet that requires one ounce of extra energy that you don´t presently have. We tossed around many ideas in our pain, desiring something warm & fuzzy and comforting during our roughest days. The problem is, we have had a number of pets and even though we miss them, we have had enough experience to know that in our housing situation, they take work. Lots of it. And our other big insight was that there is no perfect pet. I had dreams of a dog who knew just how I felt and would quietly curl at my feet when I was writing, be energetic when I wanted to go out on a long walk and would never pee or poop, bark inappropriately or dig up my plants. Stupid, right? We just don´t make the best decisions when under duress. Of course, if you already have pets, have lots of experience with pets or you are a Pet Whisperer, by all means, go ahead.
9. Find escape, solace or any kind of comfort whatsoever in facebook games that falsely promise to help you enhance your fragile-sense-of-self-while-grieving find meaning. Knowing what Disney Princess you are most like, what your nose says about your personality, what farm animal reflects your temperament most accurately, what your middle initial says about you or what Egyptian hieroglyphic reveals your hidden genius are truly NOT helpful partners during grief.
10. Try to follow all the advice you get: Don´t be alone too much. Don´t hang out with crowds if you don´t feel like it. Eat. But don´t overeat, overdrink, overshop, watch too much tv or engage in anything that could be escapist behavior. Talk if you need to. Don´t talk if you don´t want to. Be kind to yourself. Get lots of rest (but get your work done, too). Cry freely. Plan times to grieve when you can be alone & give yourself over fully to it. Find artistic outlets. Find physical outlets. Be strong. Don´t be afraid to feel weak. Take your time. Move on with your life. Etc., etc., etc.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
See how much I´ve learned so far? I could write a book!