So I’m working on another post. It’s a little bit lofty and gnarly, and I have to wrestle with it a little until I figure out what point I’m trying to make.
In the meantime, I’ve been reading little bits and pieces from the interwebs about grief and loss.
(I know, I just had a BABY. I should be over the moon with my darling little boy, and sharing posts about how he is the apple of my eye, cherry pie, cake and ice cream. He is all those things. But I get to talk about those things whenever I want because people want me to be happy about having a baby. They don’t want to hear about how I’m still struggling with losing my mother 10 months ago. They don’t want to hear about how sometimes I cry at the sight of my kid because I know my mother will never meet him. This is, for better or worse, what anonymous blogs are for. Sharing the unsharable.)
Anyway, I’ve been reading stuff about grief and loss. Not in a formal way. It’s been what I’ve gravitated towards. Other new moms want to read about how to get a few hours sleep. I want to read about how to be sad. That seems unfair, but whatever… that’s just what the Universe smacked me with, and I’ve made peace with that.
A friend of mine from high school had a stillbirth several years ago. She was devastated. She continues to be devastated, even though she went on to have another beautiful, healthy, living child. She is open about the fact that she still mourns, and this to me is the bravest thing. It’s so “uncool” to be publicly sad, and I love that she tells everyone to screw themselves by openly talking about her grief.
The other day she shared this blog post, which included this nugget of wisdom:
Some things in life cannot be fixed. They can only be carried.
HOLY shit, yes. I’m tired of people telling me that losing my mother will get “easier.” It hasn’t. Why should it? It doesn’t get easier to lose someone you love, to lose a life you loved, or a dream you had. There are some things that don’t go away. You have to learn to sit next to them and respect that a part of your heart will always hurt. Always.
The next bit of grief-related inspiration comes from a quote round up of Cheryl Strayed. (Ironically, my big gnarly post is also vaguely Cheryl Strayed related.)
If, as a culture, we don’t bear witness to grief, the burden of loss is placed entirely upon the bereaved, while the rest of us avert our eyes and wait for those in mourning to stop being sad, to let go, to move on, to cheer up. And if they don’t — if they have loved too deeply, if they do wake each morning thinking, I cannot continue to live — well, then we pathologize their pain; we call their suffering a disease.
We do not help them: we tell them that they need to get help.
Now that just about gets at the root of my problem with how we experience grief. For every time a person says “Time heals all,” I hear “Your grief makes me uncomfortable. Let’s talk about this in a few months when you aren’t weepy anymore.” Or “You’re weak if you still feel sad. It’s your fault you aren’t over it yet.”
In the olden days, there was an etiquette to how you mourned. You dressed in black for months or a year. Then you would slowly progress into somber colors until you got full access to the color wheel again.
As much as that sounds ridiculous, I kind of get it now. Most people don’t go around mourning my mom. I would venture to say most people who know me don’t even think about my mom that much, nor would I expect them to. She wasn’t their mother. But she was mine. I feel her loss acutely every day.
I wouldn’t mind wearing black so that people might think “Riiiiight… Her mom died. Maybe I should be less of an asshole to her today.”
I wouldn’t mind wearing my sadness every once in awhile.