I am afraid that as most grieving individuals experience, over the past few weeks I have also encountered acquaintances/friends who are done with the fact that I am grieving. For them, my time is up. It is time for me to be back to whatever I was, whenever that was. I’m not certain if the magic number is seven months (since Mom’s death) or three (since Nanny’s).
Sadly, this comes at the time when the shock is gone and I am grieving more than ever. I’ve lost the protective barrier of the shock of caring for two terminally ill people and having them die within four months of each other. This comes at a time when I’ve completed selling my mother’s belongings and placing her home for sell. I then turn around and help my aunt begin to do the same things with my Nanny’s belongings. I’m also well into the swing of things regarding the classes I am teaching.
As we turn into Fall and October, I am aware of what was occurring this time last year. It was the last Sunday in September that I knew my Mom was seriously not well, but I had no idea she would be gone from my life in four months. October brings the memories of dates and doctor’s appointments, biopsies and waiting. In my heart, I knew I was going to lose her. She stayed the night at my home on October 30th before a biopsy and when I stood outside her room that morning watching her sleep, I knew what we were facing. The curse and blessing of being a hospice employee.
I am so hurt by those who do not have the capacity to be as kind to me as they once were. They want me to be who I was a year ago. The girl who could multi-task a full client caseload (of grieving people I might add), teach a college course, manage my Mom’s doctor’s appointments and be a wife and friend, and yes, there was the miscarriage I was still grieving. Seriously, I look back and do not know how I did what I was doing. However, we do what we have to do when faced with it.
And now I am exhausted and tired. And it appears that for some the time limit of my grief is up.
I try every day. I think I am doing well considering the circumstances. In many ways I want to just buck up and go on and be what these individuals expect from me.
That is what society expects from those of us who are grieving. Please just be normal again. Don’t let me see your pain and how hard this is.
I see that I have choices to make here.
I could do what society expects from me. Stop talking about what I have been through. Act as if I’m doing just fine when the reality is I don’t know how I’m doing. Make others around me happy by not making them uncomfortable. But if I do this, the harm will only be to myself.
The other choice is to be the voice for those who don’t have the strength to let others know how much grief hurts. I have been and will always be a grief counselor. As a society we give the proverbial few weeks or months and then move on. Society thinks one (the griever) should be able to pick up in a short time. I’m here to tell you that when someone in your life dies, your life is never the same. Your life is in pieces.
In the past I have always used the analogy of a broken arm or leg. We are kind to individuals who have a wound we can see. We will wait for the person on crutches because it takes longer to walk. We will help the one with a broken arm because they can’t carry their groceries or drive easily.
It appears that I will not longer receive this grace from many in society and it hurts me that I have received some unkind remarks from individuals who I expected more from.
If you know me personally, you know that I am a relatively tough person. Physicians have always told me I have an incredible pain tolerance. The past year has caused many weak points in my armour and for the first time in my life I am not ashamed to admit that. I feel the pain and I’m not able to deflect like I have been in the past.
I am not going to apologize for the grief I am feeling. I am not going to apologize that I am not as organized as I was a year ago. I am not going to apologize that I am physically tired and may not have the energy for the drama in others lives. I am not going to apologize if I take things the wrong way (perhaps I am over sensitive).
I will grieve the deaths of my Mother and Nanny for the rest of my life. They will not always be the focus of my life (and believe it or not they aren’t on my mind every minute of every day) but currently I am in the most acute stage. With two losses occurring together, I am dealing with my own trauma. This will take longer than I want it to (than some of my friends want it to). As my acupuncturist stated last week, I am constantly letting go of something, the actual person, their belongings. Currently, everything feels about letting go.
My goal is to come out of this. I know I will not be who I was a year ago. I will not apologize for how I may change (unless of course someone sees me doing something harmful to myself).
Most days, I am very hopeful for myself and the future. There have been moments lately that I’ve not been so hopeful. This is normal. Grief is hard. Grief is work. Grief Sucks!
I am forever grateful for those in my life who do not expect my grief time to be up.
Please be kind to anyone you know who is grieving.