Grief

…and how we deal with it.

As I sit here, thinking what words to use on an extremely slow connection, the wind is blowing outside. Scary gusts sweeping the trees hither and tither – hopefully bringing much needed rain, but if not, a reminder of nature’s absolute might and complete disdain for mortal beings. I can only imagine what it must feel like waiting for a hurricane to strike. My son is in Louisiana now – here’s hoping he’s all right and shortly back home safely.

Anyhow. Grief. We’ve all had grief in our lives. Every single thing that happens to you, makes you grieve. I think all endings do, be it a book, a relationship, a life, a job, a school career – once it ends, and everything as you know it, changes, you grieve. And grief is a process like any other. You have stages that you need to go through. And if you don’t, you’ll get stuck and not able to let go and move on. But you must.

Why I thought to do this post was this blog. bear in mind, these are just my personal musings. I am in no way negating the author’s very real emotions, As the author rightly says, some things can only be borne. Be handled to the best of your ability. Where I think he’s wrong, is that it’s a continuous thing. That you can’t deal with the loss of a child. That you will never be rid of the debilitating fear such a thing conjures up. Just thinking that I may lose my children fills me with dread – it is the nightmare I have most often. I wake, my face wet with tears and a deep abiding sorrow, so no. I can’t imagine what it must feel like to lose a child. What I do know is that not even grief like that lasts forever. When my father died, I was broken. Could not imagine a life where he was not available. Where I could not speak to him or let him listen to a cool tune, or just give him a hug when I see him. It’s been 14 years and I do still miss him. But the loss is not as deep as it was. Because, yes. life does actually go on.

And where I disagree with the author the most is that you must immerse yourself in that kind of grief forever because no platitude means anything. Sure, platitudes suck for the most part. Mostly because people use them at completely the wrong time. You need to grieve. You need to get angry and rail against the powers that be. But you also need to accept. And to choose – do I let my whole life be swallowed by this grief or do I move through it and keep on trying to see that there is something worth living for.

I once knew a woman. She used to blog with us way back when. She lost her son – he committed suicide and she found him. Horrifying. Absolutely horrifying. I can never make light of that and I’m not going to. What I’ve always thought when I read one of her blogs though, was that she needs to let go of her son. Not because it’s easy, it’s not. Because it was necessary. For her husband, her other son, her life. A life she lived around seeing her dead son again. Personally, I think she felt guilty. Maybe because of something she said before he died, or the way she treated him before he died. Maybe just because she thought she did not deserve life. I don’t know. Maybe she was happy with her life the way it was. Maybe it made her happy to miss the child, happy that he was spared a difficult life. i don’t know. But I do think she may have been able to be a more involved mom for her second child, a more available wife for her husband – whose child the passed one was not. so, instead of focusing on the husband and son she did have, where she could have made a difference, she chose to concentrate on the one that was beyond all help. Running away maybe? Not wanting to face reality? As I said, I don’t know. Can’t even imagine her reasons. But it brings to mind the point I’m trying to make.

You may not always like what happens to you. Some days you’re up, other days you’re down. The best you can do is to learn how to row, or steer.

I see the effects of holding on to every slight and bother and grief, no matter how small or insignificant, in my sister. She’s never forgiven the man that caused our father’s death. It was an accident, could have happened to any one. But she chooses to hold on to that hate. Hold on to the fact that that man killed our father. Instead of remembering what a great dad he was, how blessed we were to have him, to see how many people still remember him fondly – all those things are lost because she did not work though her grief to get to the other side and accept the fact that my father is gone. He will stay gone. No amount of hate and blaming or guilt is going to bring him back. It will only keep her from living a life that could speak as a testimony to the upbringing our father gave us – and it has.

Back to the blog in question. He says that tribulations has made him hard and cynical. I think that affects us all to a degree. Does that make you a bad person? I don’t think so. It just makes you weigh your options better next time you’re faced with adversity. You can’t make pain go away. You can, however, accept that it is a part of your life. That it will always be there. But you don’t need to let it hold you back from living a full life.

I know I carry on about my dude. it’s been years since I’ve heard anything from him. For all I know he has forgotten me already. And I know it has coloured my view of relationships. But it’s not pain I carry with me, it’s the loss of something that I know, deep down inside, only worked because of the situation we were in. It may not have worked in the real world. In fact, probably would not have. And in holding on to the emotions we shared all those years ago, I’m not letting myself have a full enough life. I’m letting my sorrow at the loss hold me back from finding an available man and letting him into my life. That, however, is a decision I have made. I’d rather be alone and miss him, than settle for somebody that will not accept me, and worse, will not like me for who and what I am.

The biggest prison is the one we build for ourselves out of fear and regrets. Words I heard in an episode of Warehouse 13 of all places, but true, nevertheless. You can let your guilt and regrets rule you, or you can rule them. I might sound callous. But I’ve been through this. The regrets of a failed marriage, the guilt about my children’s emotional well-being, the fear of living my life on my own. The fact that so many days I wanted to just die. when i did not feel worth the oxygen I used in breathing.

But I’ve come to realise. I AM worth living a decent life. Should I need to meet a man that’s worth knowing, I will – when the time is right.

My mom asked me a question the other day. Since the sister is going through a less than amicable divorce, they will all have to move. Away from the nice big house and flatlet they’re living in now to something quite a bit less substantial. And mom will have to come and live with me in a pokey room in a house filled with cats and dogs and dust and unwashed dishes. Until we can build her something of course. She’s turning 70 next year and she asked me – How much more must I give up? Have I not sacrificed enough? My answer to her was that she will probably have to give up until she understands what she needs to understand -whatever that is. Fact is, your lessons do not end when you’re old. They continue. Because you are a work in progress until the day you die. You can never become complacent. Never rest on your laurels. Never just be. You have to keep learning, accepting, changing – until you are where you need to be – spiritually.

To end with. Life is a continuous journey. One you can’t skip. One you can’t gloss over. One you have to live through, learn from and grow from. And the only time that does not happen is when you hold on to the past because you’re afraid of the future.

Songs of loss and joy. Bonne nuit

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6 comments on “Grief

  1. Whilst I do agree with you, I also get what the author is trying to say – I lost my mum 4 years ago, she was ill and we knew it was coming, but no matter how much you are prepared, it still bites, I miss her, I grieved for her, but, she is my mother and none of us are immortal. Fast forward to June this year when my other half, my soul mate was wrenched from my life without any warning or by your leave. That grief, the numbness, the disbelief the how the hell do I go on, the having to whisper to him and tell him that if he had to go, it was ok, that is something I would never wish on anyone. To the others who were caught up in the wake of this, they all grieve, they get it, however, they are not the one’s who come home everynight to an empty house, who have to face never waking up next to the person you thought that finally the Universe had given you to spend the rest of your days with. I don’t say that anyone elses grief is less than mine, however I get what he was saying, when this is thrown at you, it is how you step up to the plate and move on that defines you and for one who always thought she was so in control and could ‘suck it up cupcake’, it is overwhelmingly humbling to realise that I can’t. I know grief will fade, the scar will forever remain and it will remain there to remind me occasionally
    The platitudes given by others are great, but they are platitudes, they don’t help me sleep at night or ease that aching hole. It is those who say nothing and are just with me in my journey with no expectations time limits or rules, it is those that I value by my side
    I agree with your ending, if am embarking on the next stage of my journey .. at the moment not enjoying it too much, but live for today, for tomorrow is not promised. Have a great day.

  2. I am really sorry about your loss Puppycat. I’ve lost my partner through divorce and long distance, not death, so I can’t really speak with any amount of authority on how it feels. I see my mom though. And, even 14 years after the fact, she still misses my father. The comfort and care he gave her, the shelter she found with him.
    Grief at the loss of a loved one is a raw thing. A part of you has been ripped away, to be replaced by emptiness – it is not an easy thing to deal with or make peace with. But you know you will learn to live with it and one day it will not be this raw. In writing this, I had a thought – maybe we feel guilty for being left behind? Like the author said – survivor’s guilt. You will always have a piece missing I suppose, but the decisions you make now – either hold on to the utter grief, or carry on living – that’s where I think the author is off the mark. You don’t have to carry the grief for longer than you have to. I’m not offering you platitudes. I still miss my dude and he’s still out there somewhere. I can’t make less of your grief. All I can wish you is some acceptance, some day. In the meantime, Like I heard on Supernatural once – Every morning you wake up. You decide to smile. You decide that every day. And then every week. Until you’re not smiling because you decided to, but because you are able. One day at a time.
    My thoughts go with you in this horrible time – if you feel the need to talk some more, my ears are available, or my eyes for reading. Maybe it helps getting the hurt out on paper. Maybe you just need to do what you feel is right for you – since you are the one that has to live through it. But I will listen if you need it.

    Have a good one 🙂

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