Dealing With Grief: Perceived Strength Vs. Actual Paralysis

The time in my life that I felt the weakest, everyone around me was telling me how strong I was.  I was powerless to stop the painful slide into oblivion.  I felt worthless.  When my daughter died, I squirmed as people described me as being strong.  I was doing what needed to be done.  I was doing what my family needed.  I could only move from one second to the next and sure as hell couldn’t talk about “how well I was handling everything.”

As the days crawled by those surrounding me would say: “I don’t know how you even get out of bed.”  I couldn’t really fathom why or how I wouldn’t get out of bed.  I knew I was going to have to pee at some point.  My response was almost comical but always carried an edge.  I would say, “I put my feet on the floor and stand up.”  I made it sound is if that’s all there was.  I refused to say there was something wrong.

I was moving along without a rudder and found myself trying to do anything to give the perception of positive, forward momentum. “They” tell you not to do anything extreme within a year of a tragedy.  Naturally, within a year of my daughter’s death my wife and I decided to: buy a house (19 days after), get pregnant (5 months), adopt a puppy (6 months because we miscarried), get pregnant again (8 months), and quit my job (11 months) in favor of joining a start-up with no promise of a salary on the horizon.  Each of these things takes guts; the sum demands a mental health evaluation.

In dark moments, I wish someone had talked me out of half of the things I did – with more clarity I acknowledge that I would have ignored them.

The reality was that I was searching for something to talk about, something to DO, and anything to move forward because the familiar was unbearable.  It may not have outwardly appeared that I was lost in my grief but I was and in many ways, still am.  It may all work out and I will look like a genius but in the meantime, I have an adorable one year old, a fluffy dog and a partially renovated home to keep us laughing, crying, talking and healing.  Fake it until you make it, I guess?

To me, this is being a parent. Aren’t we all, in some way, pushing forward into the unknown – faking it?  We must do what is necessary to move along, to protect our family and ourselves.


The Beginning
About AccidentallyAtHome

I am your resident cautionary tale. After quitting a plush job to join a start-up I have found myself mostly at home with a 1 year old, an over excited miniature goldendoodle and a toy-filled dining room that doubles as a trading desk on alternating Tuesdays.


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  1. Thank you for writing this and for sharing your story.

  2. Beautifully put.

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