Friday, October 15, 2010

Grief Is Not A Box

I'm sorry.  I keep going on and on and on.  I get so angry.  Grief is not something to measure and quantify.  I'll just be NYC blunt - I think people who tell you how to grieve - whether medical professionals or family - are ignorant or arrogant.  I was ignorant before Artie died.  I'd say to someone, "I'm so sorry." and then forget about it.  You can prattle on all you want about stages of grief and grief recovery and complicated grief.  I'm not buying into it.  We all grieve in different ways.  We all love in different ways.  Grief is not an illness.  That doesn't mean you shouldn't avail yourself of all the resources out there that can help you.  It does mean that you shouldn't judge yourself for how you feel or compare yourself with other people who are grieving.  I have a sign that says, "Have an adequate day."  It makes me laugh, but when Artie died and I saw it I thought, "I can do that."  I couldn't at that point have a good day - but maybe I could have an adequate one.  It's hard enough relearning how to live our lives when someone we love very much has died without the added pressure of tailoring our feelings and behavior to other people's expectations.  It's lonely to have to lie about how you feel because people want you to be "better".  Some folks actually read this blog now, but I started writing it for me.  I wanted a place to say what I felt.  My husband's dead.  He was everything to me.  I don't want to let go.  Am I better?  I don't know.  I do a lot of things.  I don't scream and cry myself to sleep.  I have good times.  What I don't have is my husband in his earthly form.  He can't come back.  Living with that truth is difficult.  Some days I accomplish a lot.  Some days not so much.  The one thing I won't do is live my life with other people's definitions.  I'm not depressed.  I'm grieving.

I'm happy for people that move on quickly.  Although I must say that sometimes when people say they are "fine" and I share how I feel with them they start to cry.  I'm about making a space for people to be honest about how they feel - good or bad - without them having to hear words like "recovery" and "moving forward" and "letting go".  We are complex beings.  We can hold more than one emotion at a time.  Don't judge me when I take off my wedding rings - and don't judge me when I put them back on.  Allow me to be confused and angry and have good days and bad ones. 

I am so touched by the smallest gesture of honest understanding.  My daughter called this morning and I was tired and grouchy.  She called back later and said she loved me - she thought I needed a little burst of love.  That was comforting - I was so grateful she didn't tell me to cheer up - but instead accepted me where I was.  I did get out - got to the gym.  Maybe will submit another set of poems.  That might not have happened if I had to deal with being judged on top of what I was already feeling.

It's 5:30 pm - time for lunch.  Sometimes that's just the way the day goes. :)

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