Grief makes you lose your mind, and by that I mean literally, lose your mind. Fortunately I have been able to continue to function relatively normally at work because I love what I do and I work in a very supportive environment, but the rest of my life has been a struggle. My memory for ordinary, non-work related things is failing me… often I have absolutely no memory of what I did two days ago or even two hours ago… and my decision making capacity is frighteningly impaired. Case in point, about a month ago, during the six month anniversary week of Kai’s death, I put candles in the dishwasher.
Most sane people know that there are certain items that should never be washed in a dishwasher, and a candle is such an item. But my “grief brain,” as I like to call it, told me that putting two large pumpkin spice scented candles in the dishwasher would be a great way to remove months of dust and cat hair from the surface. I was shocked when I opened the door to unload what I thought would be squeaky clean dishes to find a waxy orange mess. I turned on the kitchen sink faucet and my heart sank when the sink began filling up. Starting the garbage disposal didn’t help, either, as pieces of orange wax and dirty water bubbled up from below.
Grief consumes your life, and so little things that go wrong seem overwhelming and insurmountable. I thought for a few brief moments about cleaning out the trap to spare myself the embarrassment and expense of explaining to the plumber just how it came about that I clogged the sink with candle wax. After all, I had done this once before, when Kai decided it would be a good idea to help Mommy by pouring liquid wax from a burning candle down the bathroom sink. It’s not a particularly difficult job to remove the u-shaped section of pipe underneath a sink and pop out the hardened wax. But for a grief brain, it was too much. So I turned off the water, closed the dishwasher door, and decided to live with a sink full of pumpkin spiced water for a few days until I could summon the energy to call a plumber.
Turned out that the wax had so thoroughly coated the internal dishwasher components that I needed to buy a new one. Not only can grief brain make you feel silly and incompetent, it can cost you money.
These days I am in simplification mode. I am trying not to make many decisions or come up with new ideas, whether they be small or large. Until such time as the fog passes and my mind is functioning again, it seems wisest to try to stay in a quiet, steady routine.