Grief, Interrupted

I‘ve mentioned a few times over the course of the last six months that all of the stress I went through did quite the number on my body and my health. The first sign of what was to come manifested itself in January of 2016 as a light, annoying cough that wouldn’t go away. About a month later, it was compounded by the respiratory flu. By March, I had coughed so hard and so frequently that I bruised a rib. It finally subsided in April.

In November of the same year, I caught a cold (in addition to the stomach flu), which then settled into yet another cough that didn’t dissipate until June of the following year.

Both times, I went to the doctor. They pumped me full of anti-biotics and steroids, and nothing changed. Eventually they diagnosed me with “asthma” because they needed to call it something in order to give me an inhaler, which also did nothing.

This year, as of April, said cough has returned. I’ve been kind to myself over the past six months. I’m under very little stress now, I’ve recovered from my adrenal fatigue, and I’m actively purging stagnant emotional energies.

Traditional energy healing ties coughing to the throat chakra, but I’ve felt this is more of a lung/heart-chakra issue, and yet no matter how many things I’ve purged from my heart center, it persists.

I finally decided to try acupuncture. I met an acupuncturist who lives in my neighborhood when I first moved here, so I pulled up her website to book an appointment, and at that moment, a coworker walked into my office and enquired about my cough. When I explained the circumstances, he immediately said, “Acupuncture. Everybody says it works.” There was my sign.

I had my appointment this past week, and while explaining to her the situational stress I was involved in over the course of the last three years as this cough has arisen, she mentioned to me that in Chinese medicine, the emotion tied to the lungs is grief. If you’ll recall my last post, I processed a past-life soul fragment that was heavy with grief. So heavy that I had to skip work the next day!

As I’ve reflected on my consultation and how grief and loss ties in as a trigger for the coughing, I had a realization.

I’ve talked a bit about my dad in previous posts and most of you know that we’re no longer on speaking terms, and I’ve talked a bit about the circumstances leading up to that, but I haven’t done so in great detail.

2016 was the year that everything fell apart. It had to, of course, because it was leading me somewhere, but it wasn’t pleasant. It was not easy. There was a moment in 2016 when I thought, “I would feel so much better if I could just die.” I experienced a prolific level of grief and loss that year in a very short period of time. I lost my closest friend. Two weeks later, my cat Jordan – my shadow, my fur baby – passed away. And then a month and a half after that, my grandmother passed away. The first loss brought me to my knees. The second had me on the ground. The third was like being beaten bloody with a baseball bat while I was down. With each new gut wrenching loss, I thought, “How much more can I take?”

And then came my grandmother’s funeral.

I have to be honest…my family could probably carry an entire season of Jerry Springer. After my parents divorced, my dad married my mom’s first cousin. Suffice to say, this caused some friction in the family, which came to a head at the funeral.

The grandmother that passed away was my dad’s mother. My grandparents from my mom’s side of the family attended the funeral and so did my mother. They’d known each other for 30 years, after all. My dad and his new wife (my mom’s first cousin whom I refer to as my step-monster) also attended said funeral. This would be my maternal grandmother’s niece. As entertaining as it would be to go into great detail, for brevity’s sake, let’s just say that crazy typically attracts crazy, so you can safely assume that as batshit and manipulative as my father is, it is also evident in his choice of partners.

After the funeral, everyone was invited to a luncheon at my grandparents’ former church, at which point, my new step-monster attacked her aunt (my grandmother) right in front of me — and our ENTIRE EXTENDED FAMILY. I literally had to step between her and my grandmother.

I was furious. I was already furious at her for a plethora of other reasons, the least of which involved her texting me from my dad’s phone, pretending to be him. I was furious at her for being the soul-sucking vortex of melodrama that she is. I was furious at her for being so self-centered and narcissistic that she had to make a spectacle of herself at my dead grandmother’s funeral. We were attempting to grieve the death of someone we loved and she made it about her in the most embarrassing way possible.

The fact that I was able to swallow my anger and keep my composure instead of grabbing her by the throat and choke slamming her in front of everyone (which is what I actually wanted to do) says a lot about my ability for self-control. It’s also why I’m REALLY FUCKING GOOD at repressing my emotions. And as I later told my father in the five page dissertation I wrote to him about the consequences of his inability to accept emotional responsibility for himself and his actions, “She’s lucky I didn’t do more than push her away. The last time someone put their hands on me like that, they went home with a black eye.”

My dad’s response to said letter? Three months of silence, followed by a text message denying half of it, dismissing the other half, and a staunch refusal to acknowledge my justifiable anger. Several months later in a conversation with my mother, he would deny having ever received a letter at all.

I remember, very vividly, laying in bed shortly after all of this went down and finally allowing myself to accept that my father was mentally ill. That acceptance triggered a series of realizations about various events throughout the past where I began to see that he had lied, manipulated, and used me as a means to an end. It was a shift in perspective that brought on an entirely new epiphany: the “dad” I thought I’d had all these years was a figment of my imagination. That, in and of itself, was yet another loss. A death, in it’s own way.

My realization after my acupuncture consultation was that the gravity of a single loss is hard enough. Having four losses of such magnitude within four months of each other is downright cataclysmic. My anger toward father and his wife’s behavior interrupted my grieving process.

The weight of all of the conflicting emotion was too much to handle, and I sought out a therapist. Said therapist was not a very good therapist and ended up doing more harm by attempting to push me into simply acceptance of who my father was without giving me the opportunity to process my anger, ultimately invalidating my emotions and refusing to acknowledge that he suffers from mental illness.

I get it…as a therapist, you don’t know the full story of where someone’s coming from and of course their perspective is just one perspective. But, as a therapist, you can’t really argue that a person who has out loud two-way conversations with “demons” in public places while speaking in tongues and is completely paranoid that armageddon is right around the corner isn’t somewhat touched. When David Koresh went down in flames, taking 75 other Branch Davidians with him, I’m certain that no therapist said, “Those are just his religious beliefs and you need to accept him for who he is.” Oh, and guess what? Daddy dearest has started his own church now…

I got a six month break before my next trauma hit, which was my divorce. I lived in a state of constant anxiety for six months leading up to my move, and the minute he told his family about it, I was completely cut out. Yet another devastating sense of loss that I could barely process for simply attempting to survive. I spent most of my energy my first five months in New York freaking out about how I was going to take care of myself, financially. I’d had my own business before but rebuilding it in a new state takes time and I only had enough money to last me through the end of November. Eventually I found a full time job and was able to breathe for a moment.

All of this grief, all of the loss… I haven’t had a chance to fully process any of it. My circuits had been overloaded with too much other shit until just now.  It’s been two and a half years, now, and I suppose that stagnant energy has settled into my body. Any time I experience a smaller scale loss, the cough returns.

I had a reading a couple of days later with Christian Bradley West, a new psychic friend I made on Instagram. He’s hilarious, by the way, and you should follow him if you’re on there, and me as well! Sure as shit, grief was a topic of discussion.

I don’t know, logically, how to move through this. I’m hoping that getting some of it moving within the physical body through acupuncture will trigger some releasing. What I do know is that I’m going on my third month of hacking and I’m seriously over it.

Xo, 

 

4 Comments

  1. The unexplained physical symptoms are much too familiar to me. The only difference mine are the cause of forgiveness. I’ve been going through my own awakening and I can’t seem to move past forgiveness. Every time I do my own angel reading, its the theme of my reading. I too dont know how to move past this. I feel your frustration!! Sending you lots of healing and blissful energy! Namaste

    Reply
    • Oh, forgiveness is a theme in there, too. I just posted in my facebook group about it yesterday – whether or not people thought it was possible to forgive someone on a soul level without being able to get closure in the physical.

      You should check it out if you’re not in there already!

      Reply
  2. Ashley, I don’t know what to say except sending you lots of hugs and hopes that things will settle down. Ex’s family cutting you off strikes me as so mean-spirited and petty, on top of everything else. That would really pull the rug out from under your feet, just when you were hoping for some understanding. Hopefully the acupuncture will help some. And may you find other things too that help your body heal from this. Love your writing!

    Reply
    • I understand it. Their allegiance is to him, and while we had as amicable of a separation as one could probably hope for, they probably feel like I was abandoning him. It doesn’t make it any easier.

      Thank you for reading 🙂

      Reply

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