25 years ago, I made a new friend at work. Her mother died shortly after we met. She grieved for her mother for a very long time. At the time her mother died, she had one young daughter and 2-3 older children (I can't remember exactly how many kids she has, as I've not met them all). She told me, years later, that one of the reasons she "spoiled" her younger child was because she felt she'd emotionally cheated the child because of her grieving. She said she felt like she spent about 10 years of her life being a zombie. She was going through the motions, but was emotionally disconnected.
Not long ago, one of my co-workers experienced what could only be described as a "freak out." During her "freak out" she said LOTS of things (rapid fire, bouncing from subject to subject, sort of random) some of which wasn't true, some was exaggeration, some total nonsense, but some probably grounded somewhere in the truth. The theme seemed to be that I am a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad "person."
Even though I could easily dismiss all of what she spouted as the product of a perfect storm of several very bad days, a couple of major screw ups, and personal issues, one can't completely forget such an attack.
Which has me thinking . . . I've found myself without friends lately. Not the real friends . . . they still seem to think I'm worth knowing . . . but the more social/superficial friends seem to have decided to spend their energies else where. And, frankly, I've not really been in the mood to go out of my way to be extra nice to anyone.
And then I started to wonder . . . has my grieving over the last three years (and the multiple hits of emotional firebombs) turned me into something of an emotionally distant zombie? I suspect the answer is yes. I'm not sure I actually want to do anything about it. Although it was nice to have a lunch crowd, it was expensive. The feeling of belonging was cozy, but obviously temporary and fleeting.
Grieving changes you. I think I'm less willing to put up with BS and I have a shorter temper. And, I should probably not take things so personally. But, I think I'll concentrate on being grateful for the real, deep friends I still have. At the end of your life, they are the ones that matter any way.