• Jodi Laughlin

Grieving Seperately but Together


By no means am I an expert at this, I am just trying to navigate my way through all of these emotions and an important aspect of grieving is to find a way to grieve alone as well as grieve with your partner.

This blog has become a form of therapy for me. I wanted to show my husband the site but it is still too difficult for him to look at pictures etc. We had pictures taken at the hospital the day after loosing Noelle and my husband did not want to participate in the process, it was just too difficult for him. I am not saying it wasn't difficult for me, but for me it I knew I would want those photos forever and I knew that I wanted to see her face again that day and for all days to come.

While we were in the hospital the nursing staff said we could see Noelle as often as we liked, initially they said she could just stay with us in the room. It was really tough having her in the room with us so we opted for the nursing staff to bring her in and out as our hearts could tolerate. My initial reaction was to say goodbye to her that night, that seeing her physically there would be almost like a cruel joke- here she is, but really, she's not there, she has passed, she is in heaven. We considered having the staff take her to the morgue the next morning. Then the nurse at CHOP told me about the photographer and we opted to have her pictures taken the next day... maybe that night we would have them take her. And eventually this turned into saying goodbye to her on Thursday immediately before discharge and now looking back I am SO happy we had that extra time to hold her and adore each and every feature as I wish I could do that every moment of everyday.

I think my husband would have not had the photos done and had her taken Wednesday morning. I don't know if this is a male vs female or just a person vs person difference in coping. Similarly, we were sent home with a box of Noelle's "things" from the hospital- sweet footprints, handprints, blankets and a little dress she was wearing. My husband didn't want to open the box, but the morning of her funeral I told him I just had to, it was driving me crazy. We also have had the photos taken in the hospital sitting in my inbox for 3 days now, I would have opened them the second I got the email but my husband still can not.

I am trying to respect his boundaries and wait until he is ready. But what if it is therapeutic for me? And I sometimes feel like he should want to see those photos, is he avoiding his feelings? He does cry with me and to me. He does talk to me about her. So I will wait, I will respect his emotions and give him more time, I just hope he isn't trying to push his emotions away.

I am very anxious to start group therapy, together with my husband. I think this will help us grieve together and specifically help my husband to not ignore his grief. My husband has been very focused on making sure I am physically OK. I think this gives him something to do, something to try and fix since emotionally I can not be "fixed" he can not be fixed, we can not be fixed. The only thing we can do is to grow and to learn and to change. We will not heal. We will only become stronger or weaker, fall apart or stay together. The group therapy will hopefully be our starting point, our guide.

A couple days ago my husband turned music on while he was cleaning and I was typing. It took away the silence and I found myself saddened and angry by this. Why was he trying to take away the silence, the grief? I don't want to do anything normal because I feel like I am betraying Noelle. But he calmly said to me "it's okay, just because we are doing something"normal" doesn't mean we are dishonoring her and not grieving her, it just means we are taking care of ourselves, Noelle would want us to do that". And I know he is right, I know I have to watch TV again without feeling guilty, laugh without feeling guilty, hold my nephews without feeling guilty. I guess I just need more time, a lot more time, and I don't want to put a date on when I should be comfortable doing these things... just someday. And again, learning to respect his coping is going to be difficult, I think more difficult as time goes on and he goes back to work while I am still home with physical pain and no way to "escape" the reality through work. And eventually I will have to go back to work- that's another blog for another day. I guess when it comes down to it I just hate the word "normal" because nothing will be normal again, we will form a new version of normal someday... we will get through, someday.

In trying to understand each other I hope we will become closer. I believe through this process we will both become more enlightened and our love will grow.

#grief #goodbye #husband #boundaries #grouptherapy