This Old Thing?

“What? This old thing?” Steve has teased me many times that this is my answer to everything when it comes to new clothes. I guess I need to own my issues. So I am fessing up to an extreme part of my grieving process. I shop like crazy, to fill the void that grief has carved. Steve had a major “intervention” with me today. With an undeserved empathy that kind of surprised me, he explained that he understood what I was doing because he “fills the void” in his own way too. Although he was understanding, he explained that shopping is understandably not his preferred method of therapy for me. Because of this, something has to give, I guess.

It got me thinking, am I so vain to think that new shoes or a new shirt are going to make me feel better? Do I subconsciously believe that they are going to replace the loss of Hayes? How normal is this behavior? I have no clue. The bills and packages continue to pour in and I still feel empty. Hayes is still gone and I am still sad. So clearly, whatever it is I feel in that moment of clicking the “confirm purchase” button isn’t a long term solution. Ugh! I wish new shoes fixed everything….I really do. But, life is deeper and much more meaningful than clothes with tags on them.

I have always said, grief looks different for everyone. My grief is so much bigger than this one problem for me, but this truly has become just that, a problem. I honestly feel like a drug addict trying to hide an addiction. It is kind of embarrassing to admit this actually. I feel like I am at an AA meeting and you all are sitting in group with me…”Hi, my name is Savanna and I am a shopaholic.”

So why am I admitting this fault to you all? I don’t know. Because I have been open and honest to you all from the beginning. Because I want to share all aspects of my grieving process with you all, even the embarrassing parts. Hopefully it helps you understand people that experience loss a little more. Hopefully by acknowledging something I want to fix, I will hold myself more accountable. I have come to realize that at the root of all addiction is pain and spending has become my addiction. My addiction doesn’t look like what I have always envisioned, but it is rooted in pain nonetheless. I have no clue if what I am saying is normal, but it has unfortunately become a part of my new normal. Maybe this is my way of admitting that I am not as strong as I pretend to be. So I guess I am opening up the discussion. What does grief look like to you? Do you relate to this at all or do I just need to go ahead and admit myself to the mental ward? Hopefully not, but then again, that would probably solve this problem. I am fairly certain I wouldn’t be allowed to go shopping anymore if I am in a straight jacket.

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24 thoughts on “This Old Thing?

  1. Grief is only 3 months new to me….but I get this. Yesterday at Target I “splurged” and got myself something I convinced myself I needed. I felt deserving of it…we’ve been through hell and back. It made me feel better at the time. The void is painful..maybe for a moment that pain could be eased? I tell myself…I’ll take that moment, even if it doesn’t last. I haven’t been in this long enough to consider myself a shopaholic but based upon my experience just yesterday…I can see where you are coming from! 100%

  2. Mary Redler

    I found it interesting that there were NORDSTROM’S ads….IN YOUR BLOG…lol?????…maybe not so funny?..everyone needs a “crutch” sometimes…hopefully those times become less frequent not more!…
    Love and prayers. 💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚

  3. Shannon

    Thank you for sharing! I definately have addictive, pain-numbing behaviors that are detrimental to me and my little family- not necissarily due to the kind of experience you’ve been through. As I’m jotting this note to you, I’m realizing that “filling the void” is a BIG deal for many, many people. It’s really helpful that you have been documenting your reality because there is so much assumption about how grief should play out.

  4. I think they call it retail therapy for a reason. Buying something fun and new and fresh DOES give you a short lived happiness. I currently put anything I want in my Amazon cart and then go back the next day or two and look it over before actually buying it. It is shocking how many things I delete when I have had 24 hours to decide if I really even want it 😬. You are awesome for facing your problems head on with an openness that leaves you feeling vulnerable. You are awesome!

    PS- try my 24 hour trick!

  5. Suzanne

    Although my son is still here fighting, he’s still struggling and the everyday grief kicks my butt because he can’t be just a kid and I can’t be just a mom. Online shopping was the one thing I could do from the hospital/home that made me feel somewhat human since we’ve been in seclusion for weeks on end. We’ve been dealing with this hell for almost 4 yrs now and I have been weening from shopping as I came to the understanding myself that I know I don’t need anything and it creates more anxiety of more stuff…..much love mama ❤️🙏

  6. Tiffany

    I also struggled And sometimes still do with “retail therapy” To the point that the mail man was coming daily. Many times the items ordered would end up in the di pile after a few months because I would get anxiety from too much stuff around the house. I have 6 kids too and, wowzer, we seem to have things everywhere.
    I have come to realize and recognize there is a numbing effect that comes from shopping for things, then a small thrill of buying, and then another thrill when it shows up and you get to open the box!!
    Some things that have helped me: Reading a book, adding to cart and coming back a few days later helps, remembering stuff is stuff and it will stress me out later either as clutter or on the credit card bill. Also deleting the apps on my phone helps too.
    Xoxoxo

  7. Katie

    Thank you for sharing. I lots my dad to cancer 10 years ago next month. I was 18. Now with kids of my own I get lost in anxiety and fear of being the one that leaves them too early so I over do holidays and birthday thinking they will remember how amazing they were because of all the stuff they got or were surrounded with. I have a hard time focusing on the now and memories because I get stuck in getting the picture so they can have a memory of something that I don’t have proof of myself from my own childhood. Like you say grief look different for all. It’s hard to balance so we focus on something less meaningful so we don’t have to remember how painful the real meaning is. I never really worked through my grief as a teenager. I love that you are so open and years later I relate and am working through it because of you! Thank you!

  8. Yes! I totally get this. We are almost at the 2 yr mark of our grief journey and I went through this briefly until I had a revelation about what I was doing. But I also think shock has a lot to do with it and not being able to focus properly. Now when I go to Target I make an extra effort to stay focused. A lot of other people had good advice, deleting apps, never actually buying the stuff in my cart. But I just had a day yesterday when all I wanted to do was go to Target and spend all my problems away. Ironic that it just seems to create more problems.

  9. Jo

    Fellow triplet momma here, just wanted to offer a little bit about my experience. I have not grieved the loss of a child. My heart aches for you and your family. Knowing the pain and fear that comes with a high order multiples pregnancy, I get so frustrated at the thought you made it through all of that and still lost your sweet baby. I am so sorry!
    I just wanted to say though that I became addicted to shopping after my triplets were born. Maybe some of it was to fill a void of the grief of never getting to experience a “normal” pregnancy or “normal” first time mom experience. But I believe my addiction was mostly fueled by the search to make life manageable. I purchased so many devices that had potential for enabling us to get out of the house or feed the babies/kids easier or faster. Now that my triplets are 4 and quite independent, I try to really challenge my purchases for the kids. It is far better for me to teach them to be more independent than to keep spending money on gadgets.
    Not sure if any of this resonates with you. I know your family situation was much different than my own when you had your triplets. But I thought I would share on the off chance that it helps you change your ways.

  10. Majo

    I cried while reading this. I have this problem too. I have fight depresion for a few years now, i have fertility problems, had three miscarriages. Want to be a mother so much that it hurts. I know new clothes, shoes, beauty products, nothing is going to fill the empty place. My empty arms. But i try. The pain is so deep that you just want to feel better even for a minute. Then you realice the pain is still there so you shop again. Is hard Savanna. You are not alone. Hugs 😘😘 // sorry for my english, i am from Argentina.

  11. Dana

    Steve-

    Don’t NOT ruin your wife’s amazon addiction. What woman doesn’t have an addiction to amazon and target?! At least she’s not dragging you shopping. That should be a win in your books 🤷🏻‍♀️. Just saying. 😊.

    On a serious note, I think this is a very very common problem, not just for the grieving mom. Society as a whole has placed so much pressure on people to always have better and more STUFF. Have you every noticed while on vacation how you feel you need nothing but the beach, sun, ocean, mountains?! And then back to reality and it’s back to stuff again. I’m guilty. And I know I don’t need the stuff as I’m ok with NOT needing it while relaxing on vacation. But back to reality and stress and the need to buy is real. Why is that?

  12. Becky

    Thanks for sharing! It’s not easy to do. I totally did the retail therapy big time after a hard move…and honestly still sometimes do on occasion during rough patches! I don’t think there is any “norm” nor is there a wrong or right way to grieve. I am so touched and impressed by you guys and how you navigate loss! I have a Hayes tough t-shirt that I wear often and proudly 😊

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