I have finally realized I've been in denial. I didn't think I was in denial but looking back I definitely was. Maybe I shouldn't call it denial, maybe I should call it shock or delusion. I guess it doesn't really matter what I label it. All that matters is, I now understand that whatever it's label is, it allowed me to keep my sanity. I also know I'm so grateful that I have had the opportunity to go to bereavement groups and have a few sessions of one on one therapy in order to be able to cope now that I'm no longer protected by it, whatever it's label is.
I didn't quite recognize how truly alone I was until something slapped me in the face and I finally saw clearly. I am alone. I do not have Jeff to stand by my side, which means I no longer have someone to protect me. I have to stand by myself. I have to protect myself. That is the most painful realization I have had to recognize so far. I am no longer denying it. It's as plain as day and I now see it clearly.
I see now how I deluded myself into thinking if I took Jeff's mother, father, and brother and glean from them all of the different aspects of Jeff I saw in them, I could potentially have a semi-whole Jeff. With all three of them combined, I saw who Jeff was and where he got his personality, his quirks, his sense of humor, his temper, essentially his soul. I wanted to keep them all in my house, under my roof so I could continue living my life relatively the same way before Jeff died. I recognized certain aspects of Jeff from his mom, lots more from his dad, and his brother is almost a mirror image in body type and mannerisms. In my delusion, I was able to have pieces and parts of Jeff "present" these first few months after he died. I have since finally seen them as individuals and stopped only seeing them as an extension of Jeff. They are not Jeff and cannot take the place of Jeff in my life and that was a painful realization.
I was so selfish to think that they would always remain by my side and protect me and stand by me the way Jeff did. It's been long enough for them, they are moving on with their life as best they can after losing a son and brother. I am not and will never be their number one priority the way I was for Jeff. Jeff is gone. They and I remain and no matter what, I am not a true member of their family. I am no longer delusional about that fact.
I think I truly grieved once this was made so clear to me. I feel like the grieving I did the first few months was a drop in the bucket compared to the grieving of this realization, the true realization that my life before Jeff died is over.
It is so true that we don't only grieve the person, we grieve our own lives that we shared with the person. I am in a sense grieving myself, because who I was before Jeff died is also dead. Someone else is standing in my shoes. Jeff's wife died with him, the woman who took care of him and was taken care of by him. I don't know who this person is standing in her shoes and the grief of that is terrible.