Tips and tricks for the DFD

I have been feeling sad lately and couldn’t place why. As the Grief Freak I’m usually pretty good at figuring out the root cause of my negative emotions, but I just couldn’t place this one even being well aware that my DFD was just around the corner.

The DFD is the dreaded fucking day. (Excuse my use of the F-word, but it’s actually quite fun to say and it helps me breath out more-try saying it and see what you think).

So the DFD is that day you heard the news of…the accident, the death, the diagnosis, the separation, the divorce, your house burned to the ground, etc. The DFD can be any kind of loss.

It’s like a tattoo on your soul and divides your life into pre and post.

For me it’s pre-accident/post-accident.

In case you don’t know my story…on August 27, 2012, my beloved partner crashed on his mountain bike, broke his neck with the result being quadriplegia (he is paralyzed from the chest down).

In an instant our life went upside down.

I was well aware that the DFD was coming along this year. It used to be DFM…the dreaded fucking month when July would become August I noticed a shift in my mood.

I don’t dread August like I used to but I am hyper-vigilant with August 27th.

So, for the past few weeks I would suddenly feel a lingering sense of sadness yet I couldn’t get to the root of why I felt that way, even with my awareness of the DFD.

Until this morning…I was at the bank making a deposit and I glanced at the TV and it was playing a show where a young man on a trail was being lifted cautiously onto a gurney to be taken to the hospital.

When I got back to my car the tears began to flow and I felt like-DUH! It is that DFD.

That dreaded fateful day still lingers and lives deep down in my bones and is contained there as a sacred story that still needs excavation and attention. I was humbled to know that my body still knows.

Tomorrow, August 24th, I turn 49 and will spend the day immersed in grief as I will co-hold the Dagara style grief ritual. I couldn’t think of any other place I would rather be – this is how much I love this ritual and I so need it this year near the DFD.

Here are some other ways to deal with the DFD:

-Have awareness that the worst may be the few days leading up to it. The anticipation may be worse than the actual day. So just know that.

-Plan ahead. This year I’m taking the day off-it’s a Tuesday which is usually a full day of clients. I decided instead to tend to just me and Michael on this day.

-Have a huge reframe if you can-In 2016 Michael and I had a commitment ceremony with dear friends and family. So now the DFD shares our anniversary. This is a healing balm, but still doesn’t take away the sting of the DFD. Our life is forever both sweet and bitter.

-Learn to honor both the sweet and the bitter. That’s easier to type than to actually do. All of these suggestions are actually easier to type here…

Here’s more from an earlier blog post:

-Acknowledge the day with your closest peeps: remind them what day it is. (Remember you know it because the date is tattooed on your soul, but it’s not etched in that way for most others).

-Have someone to check in with about how you’re feeling.

-Ramp up the self care big time! And remember to cover the basics-sleep/rest, eat, and drink water.

-Honor it or completely ignore it. Yes, I said ignore the damn day!

-Do what feels right.

-Go to work or take the day off.

-Go on vacation. (But the right kind of vacation-oh, there is a blog post about that).

-Sit by the sea if you’re lucky to be there.

-Go for a long walk if you can.

-Just be in nature and let the earth/ground hold you-even give the earth your grief-she can take it.

-Dance if you can.

-Go through the motions if you can’t do much else.

Be surrounded by people who know you well OR go be anonymous and not talk about the DFD at all. (Sometimes doing this has brought back a sense of normality to my life and yet I feel that I have a huge dreaded secret inside, and well, I do).

-Breathe, a lot.

-Cry.

-Cry some more.

-Or don’t cry at all.

-If you are angry, be angry.

-Scream and let it out somehow.

-Make weird grunting noises or other strange noises that feel right to you. Create your own wailing wall.

-Eat bittersweet chocolate.

-Be grateful for what you do have if you can.

-Create a personal ritual for yourself and/or have a few people join you.

-There are so many ways to do the DFD-like the poet Rumi says- “There are a 100 ways to kneel and kiss the ground.”

-Oh, that’s a good one-go kneel and kiss the ground.

-Press the pause button if you can and that may mean tuning out for a bit with Netflix or some other lovely method of distraction.

If you share the DFD with other people, you may each have a different reaction and varied ways of honoring it.  And that is okay.

-Be flexible-you never know what you may need to do on the DFD.

I hope all these suggestions help you.

And remember to keep your grief moving, and keep breathing…especially on the DFD.