Grief changes you in a lot of ways. It can change your entire personality – not necessarily for the worse, but definitely different. You might become more cynical, more snarky, quieter, more introspective, more or less forgiving, more empathetic…there are so many ways you can be different. You struggle to know yourself after such a monumental loss, and it really takes time to find yourself again – it’s like that awkward stage in middle school all over again, except as a sad adult.
Before grief, I was ridiculously reliable. Appointments and meet-ups with friends were on my calendar immediately, and I showed up a good 10 minutes early to nearly everything. I got up early to get to work early (also so that I could leave earlier), and I said “yes” a lot to invitations.
As a griever, I’m no longer that reliable person. I’m much more likely to turn down invitations, to cancel things at the last minute, to plan on going to things and then just change my mind, and to be late to things.I’m just not reliable any more, at all.
For the most part, I’m okay with that – it’s just hard to get used to. I keep feeling bad for cancelling plans, for not following through with plans to get together with friends, and for just saying no. It has to happen, though. If I’m going to make plans to do something, it has to be something that I really want to do, or I’ll probably just change my mind last-minute. I have to make decisions based on my mental health, now. Of course I had to before, too, but definitely not to this extent.
It’s a fundamental change in my personality, and as the months go on, I learn a little more about how to handle it. It’s not that I no longer enjoy hanging out with others, but grieving is still a full-time job, and it’s hard to fit social activities in – especially when it’s hard to know whether I’ll be having a “good” day or an overwhelming grief day.
Before my pregnancy and after losing Jonah, I’ve changed in many ways. Mostly, they’re hard to put my finger on, but this one I’ve figured out a bit.
Everything post-loss is hard, including feeling like a different person but not really being able to describe how.