A while ago I started seeing a grief counselor. There are certain parts of what happened that are really hard for me to deal with and certain images that I have in my head that are so traumatic, I don't know what to do with them.
Basically when these images enter my mind, usually what happens is...I have a physical reaction...like I shake my head a little from side to side... and then I consciously try to think of something different. I knew that I was doing this and I started to wonder if I needed to somehow face this stuff....think it through...I don't even know, in order to deal with it properly and make it stop.
In short, the answer that I have gotten is "no". My counselor told me that eventually the frequency of these images will decrease and that right now it's okay to purposely switch to thinking of something else, since this whole thing is still so new. Today it is 20 weeks since the accident. It doesn't seem "new"....it seems like forever.
The other thing I need help with is in terms of my children. Within the course of a day I think about Joe probably 60% of the time, and I think about my kids the other 40% of the time. I worry about how they process everything...how they are coping...what Luke isn't telling me that's in his complex little mind...on and on. Basically I am grieving for them, about things they are not even grieving about at this point. It's crazy. However, if you asked me how my kids are doing, I would tell you "they seem to be doing fine!".
It's true, neither of them are acting in ways different from the way they used to...they don't seem to be having any difficulties coping at this point in time and they actually seem pretty............(dare I say)........ happy. I have to take that for what it is, stop analyzing it all the time and deal with issues as they come up. The counselor explained to me that young children's attention spans are short, and really it's not possible for them to think as deeply into it...to grieve the way adults do. Even when they think of Joe and they say "I miss daddy", within a few minutes they are on to something else. They are not purposely trying to busy themselves and their minds with other thoughts (the way I do) they are truly onto other and more pleasant things.
An example of this would be Christmas. For me, it is all about tradition, symbols, holiday, etc etc and it is so crushingly sad that Joe is not here. However, for my kids, it is about Santa, presents, cookies, school vacation, cousins, snow, fun, fun, fun! Their young precious minds are hard-wired at this point for what it IS instead of what it IS NOT. In another year, under different circumstances, I might think, "these kids should not be so concerned with presents and what they will get for Christmas".......but this year.......... this year I say:
"THANK GOD FOR SANTA!"