Grief is Sad. Sounds like a no-brainer doesn't it?
Well, I've come to a realization tonight. I've come to realize that there are people in my very close community who think that I'm going off the deep end. Who think I'm in some kind of downward death spiral. But I'm not. I'm bereaved. I'm grieving. And grief is sad.
I've also come to realize that people don't really know what a grieving mama looks like. Because, well, even I am getting put into a box. A box that's labelled too sad, downward spiral, shaking my fist at God, bitter, prickly, unpleasant, unloving...
And what I'm coming to see is actually how upsetting it is to me to be labelled that way because then I want to start pretending that I'm not as sad as I really am. Then, even I, as forthright as I am, want to start squirrelling my grief away into a safe corner where no one can see it. Where I can go and give it succour in private. Where I can let the tears come in the dark and in the quiet and alone. And then if I do these things...if I hide away in my corner to nurse my grief...then the rest of the world who only sees the public me will think that that is what grief looks like.
But that wouldn't be true. That is not how grief looks. Grief is sad. Grief is hard work. Grief is exhausting. Grief is uncomfortable. Grief is unpleasant. Grief is selfish. Grief is scary. Grief is lonely. And the only way to make amends with Grief. The only way to take Grief by the hand and learn to walk with this uninvited and undesirable companion is to give Grief it's due. To be sad. To work hard. To be exhausted. To be uncomfortable. To be unpleasant. To be selfish. To be scared.To be lonely. Only then can you and Grief be companions. And when you've learned to be a companion to Grief, then you can start to look outside yourself and begin to see others. Only then can you start to be comfortable with Grief. Only then can you sometimes put your feet up and have a cup of coffee with Grief. Only then can you start being generous again...with your time, with your abilities, with your emotions, with yourself.
I am learning that right now Grief and I are still getting to know each other. Sometimes I am so sick of Grief. I wish I could kick Grief to the curb and have it get picked up with the trash. Unfortunately Grief doesn't give in that easily. The only way to become companions with Grief is to go through it all until Grief is no longer an enemy but more of a friend. A friend who is always there but not sitting right on top of me. Grief is not my friend yet. Grief and I are still working alot of things out. And if you think that I (or anyone) can work through all the crap I've just talked about in 9 short months, you have no idea. And I'm not going to hide it away. Because if I start giving Grief suck in the dark and alone, then Grief is going to become a ravenous monster that will eat me up.
And, when, inevitably, one day there is another grieving mama, she won't be given liscense to grieve her child the way she needs to because at some point people will start labelling her. They will start whispering that she should be doing better...they will start nudging each other because well, they know another mama who lost her baby. And, well, Em started to be okay after awhile and this new mama....she's still crying...what's wrong with her? She should be getting over it by now...
There are people whom I love dearly and who love me too but who pretty much only see me on Sunday mornings. These people see me cry through Sunday after Sunday after Sunday. But what they don't realize is that there are six other days of the week and those six other days are not nearly as bad as Sunday is. Sunday I am surrounded surrounded by families who have all their children with them. Sunday I am surrounded by people who love me but who are also a little scared of me. Sunday I feel more alone than any other day of the week. Sunday I feel observed. Sunday I feel judged.
But still, I want to go to church on Sundays. I want to be there and be with God because my relationship with God is bigger than singing songs that choke me. God can handle my pain. God can handle my mourning. God can handle my tears. God can handle my anger. God has big shoulders and He can handle it even if people can't. So, I'm still going to go to church on Sunday. I'm still going to sit there and cry Sunday after Sunday after Sunday. I'm still going to go and feel misunderstood and alone on Sunday. I'm still going to go home on Sunday afternoon utterly spent and exhausted.
And if I'm a little prickly towards you. If I get my back up. If I'm aloof or withdrawn or not pleasant. Well, please, give me a little grace. Grief and I are still duking it out. And it's hard work. The hardest I've ever done in my life. But if I don't do the work I will get eaten up and that's not what I want. I want to come out on the other side of this. I want to be able to help others get through this kind of searing pain. But it's not going to happen if I give Grief succour in the dark. It will only happen if Grief and I become companions. And that is still going to be awhile. A long while. And Grief will always be in the room with me. And Grief is sad.