Most days I look at myself and see/feel that I have become a relatively well-adjusted mother dealing with loss. It doesn’t mean that I still don’t experience various moments of sadness and really feel the hole in our family (and my heart) from our missing daughter. I know this. I wonder how I was able to navigate through the grief so “easily”, I wonder why my days now are spent in relative happiness or contentment with life…. I wonder if you resent me for it. I wonder if I am missing something here when I’m told that the other shoe will drop and maybe I just haven’t had it hit me in that big all out world ending type of way that brings me to my knees and makes me want to lock myself in a closet all day and bawl. I just don’t see myself going there. I’ve been able to process most of my feelings (and continue to do so whenever they surface), I’ve been able to lean on those closest to me at times where I needed to have her acknowledged. I remember my days with her and the few times that I actually got to hold her with fondness, even when the end result is so tragic. I know I am changed from the experience, and that the catharsis of working with other families experiencing loss is not a tool to wallow in mine, but one to honor her.
Am i not crediting my grief enough? Am I just lucky that I was able to cope with all of this and found the support that made it work for me? How does this look to others? Do I put them at ease knowing that there is a way through it or do I make them uneasy because how can I sit there and be functioning in life when they can’t even see that life anymore?
I so struggle with this too. I think we are both naturally resilient people (it’s true – this is an inherent trait, scientifically speaking), and likely have also had a strong foundation of family and friend support before the tragedy of our children’s deaths. Personally, my life was very idyllic until that point – I can easily point to Ander’s death as the hardest thing that ever happened to me. But that also means that I had deep reserves to cope, unlike many others for whom the death of a child is just another huge tragedy compounded on other, smaller, but impossible tragedies. I also feel that being a well-educated person and a strong self-advocate (in many situations!) better prepared me to handle the little aspects of grief as well (communicating with medial providers, insurance, my workplace, funeral homes, etc.). I guess… I think in some ways, my ability to “handle” my grief was part genetic (resilience, lack of history of depression), part choice (friends, partner) and part privilege (access to high-quality resources and the knowledge to seek them out).
These are excellent points. I guess I never really thought about resiliency being an inherent trait, but you’re right. Definitely a combination of factors. I think I had my share of little things piling up in the past and it reared its ugly head in a big way a few years ago with my job, though I didn’t really recognize it then for what it was. Thank you for sharing!
I think it means you’re healthy, Stacey. Our culture seems to like to create victims. Living the victim life is not healthy. Learning to move through our griefs and sorrows, acknowledging our painful experiences no matter how painful they are, and allowing ourselves to see and to celebrate the positives in the midst of all our pain is one of life’s great lessons. No one is exempt. Some get stuck in an unhealthy place. Some learn to navigate those waters and live to be a source of wisdom, compassion, support, and help to others. You are not stuck. ❤
Thank you Nana. So when this is the case, is it still possible to help those who need to help themselves navigate or will they just grow exhausted and feel unsupported in our efforts (at least on the service side for what TOP is about)?
oh gosh, we are in such different places in our grief, but we are also in the same place! doubting- are we grieving the right way? I’ll simply mimic what people have been telling me- we are who we are and grieve the way we are supposed to. From my opinion, you are an inspiration 🙂
Well thank you Meghan 🙂 Why can’t we just allow ourselves to be how we are without worrying or self-doubt? Maybe its just because it’s hard to know where your limits really and what you can take. Always more insight in retrospect, I suppose. For the record, Mabel is always in the back of my mind 🙂
Both Meghan and I have talked about how we feel pressure to be the “ideal griever” – I think that’s why we all worry about whether we’re grieving too much, or enough. There’s also, of course, the desire to not seem “over it” to the outside world (and thus not appear to be too competent, lol).