Since I arrived in my 30’s I would always mutter to you when I forgot something, “yikes, I’m getting old…”. You would smile, chuckle, and give me a kiss on the forehead all while reassuring me that I’m not that old yet. But the brain fog I’ve had since you passed away from this earth has been something entirely different. When the initial shock hit me I couldn’t cry for the first 24 hours. I don’t know how I drove home those 25 miles from the hospital. (You were certainly holding the steering wheel with me). In the weeks that followed I have had so much trouble concentrating. Little did I know that there is a term for this symptom. It’s called “widow’s brain”.
Widow Brain is a term used to describe the fogginess and disconnect that can set in after the death of a spouse. This feeling is thought to be a coping mechanism, where the brain attempts to shield itself from the pain of a significant trauma or loss. Widow’s Brain is also commonly referred to as Widow Fog or simply trauma brain. – (Source: https://trustandwill.com/learn/widow-brain )
Trauma brain. That sounds about right. Symptoms include forgetfulness, irritability, brain fog, fatigue, nausea, etc. I have experienced all of these in the 51 days since you passed away. Initially my appetite was completely gone. I hardly ate for the first 72 hours since I came back from the hospital. Anything made my stomach turn and I felt completely nauseous. But, the fogginess and inability to concentrate…. that has lingered to the present.
I admit that it has been frustrating for me because I am the type of person that usually focuses quite well. But grief is real and brain trauma is real as well. Seeing you pass in my arms and trying to revive you with CPR is something that I don’t think I will ever get over entirely. However, in this season of healing and quiet…. there have been tiny things that I have begun doing to “anchor” my brain to try to cope. Music is one of them. I can’t quite read a chapter book (yet). My brain feels too scattered… like a million pages blown away in the wind. But music? It has always spoken to my soul (and brain) and there is a song for every emotion.
Tonight as I’m typing this the song, “Babe” by: Styx is playing on my Spotify playlist. It fits my mood perfectly.
You know it’s you BabeWhenever I get weary and I’ve had enough Feel like giving up You know it’s you Babe Giving me the courage and the strength I need Please believe that it’s true Babe, I love you.
Deep down, behind the walls that my brain has put in place to protect itself… I know your physical form is gone. I know that God holds my soul in His hands because it is oh-so-fragile these days. I might come across as being “on top of it all” but I am still recovering… still healing… still crying when I talk to you. The releasing of tears helps. Talking to you helps. You and God are my courage and strength.
Brain fog is real and one day it will lift. Until then, I will just crawl on hands and knees through the fog until I find my way.