How could a mere Gallon of Milk do this to me…


What is it about this?
What is it about this?

I remember the day when I broke down in a hospital after walking by a nursrey. Yes, I wondered how and how long one needed to mourn a child. I still miss my brother so much, but I thought I was coming along fine as far as mourning his LIFE was concerned.

Well, this morning, I was to be proven otherwise. A gallon of milk so emabarrased me and made me cry right there in a supermarket. I am not proud to be writting or admitting such, but I am proud to share the experience and how I dealt with it. If only it helps some other person too.

Like my dear friend blahpolar shared in a very recent post of hers on grief and grieving, there is a big contrast between  “get over it” v “get through it”. This morning once more, I got through it.

Here is what happened. I accompanied a friend to the Netherlands which happens to be a 30 minutes drive from their village in Belgium. I came here for sort of a retreat, but couldn’t resist going to the Netherlands with them for groceries. And it was there that I saw gallons of milk. I have somehow not come across a gallon of milk in Belgium ever since. I felt so angry at seeing these gallons of milk. I first felt like buying a dozen and then spilling all the damn contents. I even raged up and felt like pushing the shelves, and then I broke into tears.

You see dear readers, my brother loved milk just so much. One day, I heard that he went into the neigbour’s flat and helped himself from a gallon of milk in the fridge. The police were called, and he and my sister with whom he lived, were evicted from their own flat. In his final months, he was so ‘whatever it is I lack the app words’, that when I asked him if he still drank milk, he told me No. I think he said he couldn’t afford it anyway given the disability check he got.

I decided to let the tears flow and not hold them back. I retreated to a quiet aisle but refused to leave the supermarket. I knew I wanted to face that shelve again. I needed to tell those gallons it wasn’t their fault what happened to my brother, but they were sure some trigger this morning. I shared my experience with the friend I accompanied, and then when I felt ready, I went back to that aisle.

I must add that, the incident increased my vulnerability and propensity to overeact. I think I did that over some other incident this morning. What I know I equally did, was that I tried to first deal with the issue within myself, and counted up to even 1000 before talking after that same incident.

I never could have imagined a mere gallon of milk could do this to me… I however know that it was simply one of those incidents which reminds us of our human nature…

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14 thoughts on “How could a mere Gallon of Milk do this to me…”

  1. My dearest friend Marie,

    This post reminds me of a time in the institution where I lost it; however, it never dawned on me much as to why until I read your article.

    The situation was this: The hot water had gone out at the institution, and as a result, the staff were warming up water from somewhere and putting it in a small plastic foot-soaking pan. We were then told to bathe ourselves using a small towel and soap.

    I went nuts. I screamed and begged that they let me take a cold shower. I told them it wouldn’t hurt me. I even went so far as to take the pan and throw the water out on one of the staff.

    I remember the Doctor was called in and she was puzzled at my reaction. Now, I think I understand, well at least part of it. You see, I use to bathe my son when he was a baby up till about age two in a foot pan.

    At the time, I just argued they were treating me like a child; however, this must have also brought up memories of my son that would never be repeated with any other children of my own.

    Anyways, I understand the feeling of how certain items or situations can make us burst out in tears. May God give you peace as you continue your journey. Hugs, LaVancia

    1. Oh my dear LaVancia, to get such a comment from you ? Thank you so much. Indeed, whoever it is watching me from above, keeps giving me peace beyond understanding. I have that kind of faith and love in and for humanity that I am sometimes amazed at myself. Wishing you all the best too.

      1. Marie, I wept bitter tears myself when I read about your reaction to the gallons of milk…In fact, I knew almost before you as you did, what the significance of the milk was…I had somehow presentiments of it! I don’t know how, but I just understood that Gabriel had done this and the police had kicked him out of the apartment for it. Maybe I have known someone else who did something like it too? I dunno, it was very uncanny, but so, so sad. I feel like I can never see those milk jugs at a supermarket here in Vermont without thinking of your brother now…In Solidarity and Love, Pam

    2. Oh yes, LaVancia, do I understand this! And it is not just when the water goes out, but in most city hospitals when you are a psychiatric patient they order you to take only 2 tiny towels to use for your entire body and hair when you take a shower, knowing there is an entire hospital full of linens and that they COULD find a way to get more, but wanting to humiliate you and punish you. So that is the sort of thing that makes ME rage and cry when I feel deliberately abused by staff or people who know better and could easily supply the necessary towels I might want for my rare shower. Or when I was in the emergency room and was freezing COLD, the aide refused me a second blanket…out of nothing more than laziness and spite. How do I know this? Because when I told the aide that I knew there were plenty of blankets and that she was actually refusing me for NO reason whatsoever but because she could do so, she relented and pretended that she had not heard my request, then brought me three more blankets, and not only that, had them PRE-warmed, and acted all lovey-dovey, scared that i would report her. All I wanted in the first place was to be treated like a human being and not a “psycho” in the worst sense of the word, not that there ought to be a worst sense of that word, but you of course know what i am talking about..

      1. Yes, the more I recall about my institutional days, the more deliberate abuse I can recall…and not just on myself, but other women on the ward as well. It’s funny for the first year or so I was there, I was writing up complaints like every other week. I heard through the grapevine that the Executive Director had made a comment, “Well, here we have LaVancia again…” He didn’t recognize me by face, but knew me by my name. At the time we had a patient advocate at the hospital, but after about three years, we had none whatsoever and had to take our complaints directly to the state level. (Which of course I did! lol…) Anyways, it really isn’t funny, that’s why I hope to be some sort of mental health advocate after I complete my book.

      2. Please LaV, let ne know when your book is published. I’ll like to buy a copy. Good you wanna become a mental health advocate, one more is never too much, there is so much advocacy needed!

      3. Don’t worry, when my book is ready, I intend to make a widget to where people following my blog can purchase a copy from my publisher. At least, I think I can do that. I’ve seen it on some other websites/blogs…

  2. Sending you big, big hugs too. What a beautifully written post..I grieve for the loss of my father, and grief hits me in unexpected ways. I am deeply sorry for the loss of your beloved brother, dear one.

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