If you know me in real life and have found this blog, please honour my wishes and don't read on. I need this place to freely write my feelings to help me to heal and if you're reading, I'll censor myself. I have no way of knowing who is reading so all I can do is trust you to honour my wishes. Thank you.

(this doesn't apply to any of my fellow mums of angels I've been lucky enough to meet in real life)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Keeping Busy

Just after Matilda died, well meaning but misguided friends and family kept telling me I had to 'keep busy'. Like if I kept busy, I would somehow forget about my grief. And also, I think it made them feel better if I was doing stuff - like I was OK again. I resented it for a couple of reasons. I didn't want to forget my grief. Yes the pain was overwhelming at times but I wanted to feel it - I didn't just want to keep busy and pretend I wasn't overwhelmingly sad because Matilda died. Also, the grief was so all consuming in the early days that keeping busy just wasn't an option - I literally couldn't concentrate on anything that wasn't about Matilda, grief, or other people's stories about losing their babies. I know this mightn't be the case for everyone - my DH in particular wanted to keep busy and go back to work. I'm generalising but this seems to be how a lot of males cope.

But now, 5 and 1/2 months down the track I am starting to feel like keeping busy does help some of the time. Especially as I try and keep the anxiety about my pregnancy down to a dull roar. So I am planning to start working a bit more and go into the office once a fortnight (I'm working from home the rest of the time), I am organising to see close friends I feel comfortable around a bit more, I am planning to get out with DH a bit more, I have started knitting, I am reading more books, I am going to a meditation class once a week, and I am excited about Masterchef starting again. I was going to the movies for a while but there doesn't seem to be anything I want to see on at the moment.

Just wondering what everyone else does to 'keep busy' if that's something that helps you?


  1. A lot of people told me to "keep busy" too and to distract myself from everything. Like you, I resented that well meaning advice. I don't want to forget why I'm grieving & pretend nothing happened. But, I will admit that being busy does help. I'm not forgetting and I'm still grieving, but it helps when I'm thinking of something else for just a little bit. Working, going out with friends and watching movies are all things that help me. I hope you can find some ways to 'keep busy' too. I find myself focusing on lots of my grief when I'm sitting at home doing nothing a lot..and sometimes it's better to just get out & have fun! :)

  2. Gosh it's interesting how everyone goes thru this in different ways. I wanted to keep really busy at first. I was really angry at first so I got my anger out by running and painting my kitchen, just a small chunk at a time so I wouldn't get overwhelmed and then I hit a hard depression in the middle of painting my kitchens where I couldn't get myself off the couch to paint and now I'm doing a little better and back to painting. I think each person has to do what feels right for them and give yourself lots of grace for whatever your feeling.

  3. we've done a lot of house renovations, work in the yard, flowerbeds.. I even cleaned the garage out a few weeks ago, simply because sitting alone in silence was taking me to a very bad place in my head..so I clean, cook, walk, keeping busy is not always the best for me, but a lot of times it is.. just do what feels right at the moment.. there is no right/wrong way to grieve..xoxo

  4. People said it to me too, at first, and I said it to myself. It took me a good six weeks to work out that I couldn't run away from the grief.

    But since then... reading has been the main one, because that occupies my brain as well. but clearing out and getting rid of rubbish have helped me too.

    I'm glad to hear you're ready to think about going back into the office, even just a tiny bit.

  5. When so many other things blew up in the weeks after Kat died we were told that it was good for us to be busy. In hindsight it felt like the grief was put on a forced hold and it had to come out eventually. I think you've done exactly the right thing by giving yourself as much time and space as you needed and then adding things back in at your own pace when you're ready. It sounds like you're getting into a much more peaceful frame of mind and I wish you all the very best.

  6. It is amazing to see how it is so different for everybody. For me, nobody told me to keep busy. It was me who made myself busy. It wasnt that I was wanting to forget about Connnor, or avoid the grieving as such, more of a need to feel back in control. I honestly would rather have stayed in bed those first few weeks but I couldnt. I had to get up because I had two older children to care for. I had preschool drop offs & pick-ups to do. I had to make sure they had breakfast lunch and tea, and everything else sort of fitted into place. I had no option but to be busy. Other things that I have done to occupy myself is renovations on the house, plant a vegetable plot, and create a memorial garden for Connor. I basically keep myself so busy that I fall asleep at the drop of a hat at the end of the day.
    As others have said, its an individual thing and you have to do what is best for you and what you feel comfortable and capable of doing.

  7. That's funny, I was just thinking about this today.

    I had to keep busy after I lost Aiden because I had to go back to work 11 days later. We would have lost too much otherwise. I still resent that and feel that I was robbed of something important not having the chance to just grieve and let the world go by. A month or so after he died I was becoming grateful for being busy but now I realize I was just hiding. I think because I didn't get an initial "grieving period" that I still need it. These last few days I have wanted so badly to just stay in bed, cry, and walk on the beach. I resent work, my family, my friends, everything. I just want to be alone for a bit with my dead son. I keep thinking that it is weird that I need that now but didn't think I needed it before. I guess that goes to show how different everyone's grief really is. I hope you are finding good things to keep you busy.

  8. at the march of dimes on may 8th I will be walking in memory of my son jordan and other angel babies, do you mind if i add matilda to the poster we will be walking with? if you'd like to have her name added please send me when she was born and anything else you would like to say. thank you and praying for you too

  9. Thank you so much for adding Matilda to your poster. She was born 30/10/09 and passed away 3/11/09. Just that we love her is the only other thing we'd want to say if you've got room.

    PS - I tried add this as a comment on your blog but couldn't comment?

    Maddie x