Monday, March 7, 2016

Grief is not linear

As I sit here in a semi drunken stupor, I'm left thinking about things that have happened to me in the last year that really shouldn't have happened. I mean there are a plethora of things in my life that have happened that shouldn't have, but in the last few years I've run into too many situations and took part in too many conversations that have dictated to me what should happen with my grief.

My marriage ended ultimately because we couldn't come to terms on what grief should look like. I didn't agree with his drinking to dull the pain and he didn't agree with my need to talk about what happened.

I lost a friend because he believed that I should be able to just get over the death of my son. I shouldn't be sad on days that are difficult to me. I should just be happy and stop thinking about how hard it really is to breathe somedays.

My therapist told me that after 6 years I shouldn't be having nightmares and should be over Declan. His birthday shouldn't affect me so much. He even said I needed more therapy to get over it.

Too many times people who grieve are told how they should do so and I think it's bullshit. There is no  timeline for grief. There is a only new normal for those who've gone through any earth shattering type of loss. Why is it okay to tell people they should be over something that rocked their very core? Why is it okay to tell people they should just forget the pain of something that killed them inside?

A very big part of me died when Declan died. A part of me that will never be resurrected. A part of me that will never be the same. I will never again be that blissfully ignorant little girl that believed she was safe. I did everything right, I didn't take unnecessary risks, I took care of myself so why would I have to worry about pregnancy loss? I mean that doesn't happen when you're in the 3rd trimester right???

I wish I could be that little girl again. I wish I could go back to the person I was before I had to say hello and goodbye to my first son, my beautiful little boy whom I would never get to see grow up, never get to hear him laugh or cry, never get to hold again once the nurse took him away.

Why is it okay to tell a grieving mother that maybe it was God's will?
Why is it okay to tell a grieving mother that she shouldn't worry because she can have more?
Why is it okay to tell a grieving mother that she shouldn't be sad because she should focus on the children she has?
Why is it okay to tell a grieving mother that she shouldn't be sad because the baby wasn't a person anyway, it was too early to mean anything?
Why is it okay to say all these terrible things to a grieving mother, but it's not okay for us to say the same to grieving siblings? Grieving children? Grieving spouses?

If you follow that logic then you should be able tell a grieving child they shouldn't be sad their parent died because they have two. When people look at it that way they should understand how asinine that line of thinking really is and therefore they should take a step back and really look at how grieving parents are treated.

How different would the world be if people understood that grief is not linear, it's not the same for every person, it's not the same for every situation, and it should never be dictated to someone how long their grief should last?

There are so many different things that are lost when you lose a child.

You lose the future, you lose the birthdays, mother's days, father's days, holidays, you lose first days of life, first laugh, first tears, first steps, first teeth, first words, first day of school, graduations, first jobs, first cars, first dates, first heart breaks. Father's miss walking their daughters down the isle, mother's miss watching their son marry the love of their lives. You lose every milestone and if you're unlucky enough to be pregnant with someone who is lucky enough to get to take their child home, then you get to see everything their child gets to do that yours doesn't. It hits your heart hard and breaks your soul deeper each time you see a post about those things your child doesn't get to experience. If you hear their name randomly your heart stops and you are left wondering, would your child have the same type of personality?

So unless you've walked the walk, unless you've had the same heartbreak you have no room to talk. Unless you've had to wear the heavy shoes of grief that stems from the loss of a child you will never understand and you have no right to tell me how I should be grieving.

To be perfectly honest I envy the ignorance of those who've never had to go through this type of loss. It's not something that I would wish on my worst enemy. But if you find yourself the unlucky member of this horrible club you'll find that you are not alone. You are surrounded by love and understanding.

To those unlucky and very loved members I impart this wisdom.

This is your new normal, you will never be the same person you were the day before tragedy struck. It is okay to scream, it is okay to cry, it is okay to laugh, it is okay to smile, it is okay to be okay. And on those days where you find it hard to function, take it day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute if you have to, and it is perfectly okay if all you did in a day is breathe.

Never let anyone dictate the way you should grieve. Loss isn't something you just get over, it's not a cold that you take a pill for, you're going to be perfectly okay for days, weeks, or even months at a time, then suddenly, out of no where, you'll find yourself hugging your knees screaming in your pillow, and you'll feel like your world is ending. Honestly it doesn't take much to derail your "I'm okay" train, but when it happens, weather it's been 3 weeks, 3 months, 3 years or 10 since your loss, it is okay to feel. It is okay to grieve. And if anyone tells you it's wrong, punch them in the face, get some ice cream and a bottle of wine and move on from their negativity.

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