Ouch. That probably stings as a title but God do we need grief reform in our world. I mean, I think we need a lot of reform in a million different categories but since this is my current experience this is what I will be ranting about.
I do think everyone has the best of intentions. I generally have always thought that, but so far I have just noticed a few things that are disturbing.
- We are not on a timeline- This will impact myself and my children. Forever. If we cannot handle an event, we can’t handle it. If this makes people upset or angry, our relationship is terminated. I will not make myself or my kids more uncomfortable than we already are. We already suffered so much, I will not add to it. It’s about us now and I am not sorry for it in the slightest. If it’s been two years and you think we are behaving oddly, then that’s too bad. Unless you are exactly in our situation, you won’t get it. You can be as empathetic as you want- just as I tried to be for my friends who had loss someone prior to this, but I didn’t know.
- Don’t tell me I have to be strong- Literally the worst thing I can even fathom (besides losing the kids) just happened. I’ll do what I want. My house isn’t going to catch fire, my kids aren’t going to starve, I’m not going to live in a box in the street. But I am going to feel like I don’t want to exist most days. I am going to repeat myself, constantly. I’ll probably talk about Jesse more than some people want to hear, but listen or don’t. What does it even mean to be strong? It means nothing. There is no strong, there is just existing.
- I won’t apologize for making you uncomfortable- These things need to be said. Not because I expect anyone to be a widow at 30 but because we all have to deal with death eventually. Either we will be the ones who die early or we will lose someone unexpectedly and be ill-prepared. We will need support and if we hide ourselves from words that hurt we will be ill-equipped. Remember that when you are done reading my blog, you probably get to go back to your normal life. We don’t. But one day, you will be in my shoes in some form OR someone you care about will be experiencing the loss of YOU. Don’t make it harder for yourself or others.
- Perspectives are different and that needs to be understood- I am not the only one suffering. Jesse was a son, brother, best friend, etc. These people are suffering too but in different ways. People naturally want to compare grief because they try to relate. I think that’s just human nature, but sometimes it’s very damaging. At the end of the day, if you didn’t spend a lot of time with him, it naturally is not going to be as painful for you. It may be painful sometimes, but I can assure you it’s nothing like what I, his mother, sister, etc is going through. I think a good example of this is family dinners. Jesse and I had family dinners at his parents house about once a month. We are about to have a family dinner on Sunday, except for the first time, Jesse will not be there. While this is painful, this is the “first” time they have to go through this. For the kids and I, it is the 63rd time he has missed a meal. Likewise, there are elements I can not understand either from his family members, such as child loss, which is notoriously known as the worst kind of loss there is. I think it is important to discuss how the loss impacts us in different ways, but to be very careful when comparing and contrasting.
While this has been said, I can say that ultimately my experience, despite some very nasty bumps in this horrible road- has been rather okay. I do feel as though for the most part people have been understanding and sympathetic to us. I feel currently that whatever resource someone had to help us they offered. I will forever be appreciative of that. Even though I can say 95% of people have been helpful, the 5% that have not really feel like 200%. This is because I already have an open wound and they are pouring salt in it. Obviously these people aren’t thinking clearly- but it’s not my job to fix them or fight to make them understand. Hopefully they do that on their own. That’s what makes me want to make a blog post about the 1-2 that have appalled me rather than the 98 people who have helped. Grim outlook I know. But when you are in a situation as such, things are not handle as easily as they once were.