Oh Denial, my own worst enemy. And, yet at the time when my mom was sick, it was my ultimate coping mechanism. For me, the reality and just the mere thought of my mom one day leaving this earth created so much anxiety, panic, and an overwhelming state of mind. As humans, we like to believe that we have full control over situations in our lives, but the minute that we become aware that we have the least bit of control, that's when the panic sets in. When we love someone and they play such a huge role in our lives it's hard to imagine to even be our own full selves without them around.
To say that I wasn't aware of how critical my mom's condition was would make me sound a bit naive. I think I was so wrapped up in the thought and idea that my mom would eventually pull through that I kept saying to myself "it's my mom, no way she's going to pass away, she'll pull through this." Looking back now on a comment like that one screams denial. I would be lying if I said I didn't blame myself for many things leading up to my mom's death. Such as the fact that I regret not spending even more time with her and reassuring her as much as I could have on how much I loved her and that she was my best friend. I blame myself for not noticing the real situation that was in front of my eyes, and not being there 100% of the time. I know blaming myself isn't healthy, but I'm working on it and I'm trying hard to be at peace with this. Remember grief is a work in process and everyone's journey to recovery is different.
Denial is the first stage of grief, but for me, I entered that stage even before my mom's passing. Denial is an all familiar stage that we (those who have lost someone close to us) can be stuck in for many years before actually accepting reality. It's important to tackle the denial head-on to survive grief and work towards recovery. Little do we all know that denial is part of the healing process where we eventually begin to accept the reality of the loss of a loved one.
Looking back now on the months leading up to mom's passing I repressed the thoughts of her passing away so far back in my brain that now when I look back onto it I just shake my head. Let me give you an example. My aunt called me one day to catch up, but most importantly she wanted to talk about my mom. "AC, I spoke to your mom and she didn't seem like she was doing too well." Want to know what my response was? "Oh really, she's doing just fine"...JUST FINE?!?! What was wrong with me? And, the answer to that is nothing. I was just in complete denial, which as well know now is just a part of the grief journey. So, yes, the months leading up my mom's passing, DENIAL was my best friend.
Dealing with denial is not easy, nothing ever is when it involves those who we have lost. With a strong support system and someone to talk to it can make this part of your grief journey a little easier to survive with, cope with, and eventually overcome it in hopes of finding one's self again.