I chose to grocery shop when everyone else in the state of Michigan also does their grocery shopping. Also, it seems we all use the exact same grocer. Which is super-fun for me since crowds are not a thing I want to be part of. And still, Sunday evening, I put on my finest near-homeless chic, threw on my favorite Red-Wings puff-ball hat and jumped in the car to head to my least favorite place. Jay was driving.
Someone did us wrong in the parking lot and I was insta-pissed™. I took off my seat belt, opened the door and my puff-ball hat and I were going to fight a lady in the parking lot. Jay (the levelheaded) started driving away with my door open and my right foot on the ground trying to calm me down. He drove very slowly to a parking spot (probably to give that lady a decent head-start) and I jumped out of the car and walked briskly toward the store while yelling back to Alex to grab the reusable shopping bags (because I’m hot-headed, not an animal). If he wasn’t going to let me fight in the parking lot, I was going to take it inside.
I did not find my intended target. Also, interestingly, I spend less money at the grocery store when I’m mad.
The first Christmas after Joe passed and then the first Christmas after Z was gone, I battled my feelings. Both of those Christmases I was head-down walking into the wind with all of my might. I was going to make everything perfect and no one would notice anything was amiss. I was on a mission and no one was going to stop me.
Stage 1 – Denial.
Last year was so much worse than the first Christmas without Z. I was gutted. I’d spent Christmas in Houghton Lake and my Aunt and Uncle had prepared a room and wanted us to stay. I couldn’t. I was barely hanging on. I couldn’t deny the missing people. I didn’t have the energy to put up a fight. I was emotionally bloodied and beaten. I don’t particularly remember the special goings-on the second Christmas after Joe died. It was just so lonely and lost and gloomy.
Stage 2 – Pain.
Today I sent an email to Jay complaining that my socks were falling down in my new boots. He replied to me that he’d herd Bombas socks were really good. I quick jumped on their website and saw they were $20 a pair. We have a limited spend budget for each other and I saw the price tag on those socks and again, I was insta-pissed™. Why would he even joke about spending $20 on socks? That’s not funny. I had to take an office-lap™ to cool my temper.
Later this morning I found out a supplier dropped a bunch of treats for the office in the breakroom. I went and found a dark-chocolate no-bake cookie. Be still my heart. I took a bite. It was not a no-bake. It was a shaved coconut cluster. One guess what happened… insta-pissed™
Stage 3 – Anger.
The Seven stages of grief don’t ever come in any particular order. They are just seven things that happen. All seven can happen in the same day, in random order or they can spread out, they might time-out (giving a breather to the constant, overwhelming emotion) or they can roll, one after another, into your life. They aren’t neat and tidy. They just are.
Luckily, I can suss them out in their published order at Christmas. I didn’t even realize a pattern was emerging until I was trying to introspect my anger this season. I did a quick google search on the stages of grief and the first three fell into a years-long focus.
Here I am – 2 weeks from Christmas, staring down my own emotional outbursts and irrational behavior now that my chill seems to have vacated the premises.
I’m mad. I’m mad that Joe has missed so much. I’m mad that Z won’t be talking about graduation soon. I’m mad that neither of them will see this new decade we’re starting without them. I’m angry about the asparagus I forgot to eat after I cooked it last night and I’m still upset my socks won’t stay up in my boots and I’m mad I can’t buy myself a new truck right now and I’m mad there is pet hair everywhere and I’m mad the cheap wine I purchased Saturday isn’t that great and all of these mads are substitutes for the real mad that I am.
Stage 3 – Anger.
Zero Stars. (And I can’t stress this enough)… Do Not Recommend.
My puff-ball hat and I will fight you.