Friday, October 19, 2012
Grief 101: Understanding grief
It goes without saying that I am learning much more about grief than I ever wanted to in my life. Things I was so ignorant to, before.
Grief is such a vile monster. Grief is so life sucking. Grief is a dark yet soothing place. Grief is where I feel closest to my Vienne. Grief is something that causes people to either draw near or pull away. Grief is irrational. Grief is unpredictable. Grief is intimidating. Grief is awkward and uncomfortable. Grief is a true bitch. (I feel entitled to my profanities at this stage in my life. I'm not going to apologize.)
I have been frustrated and irritated these past few days since my last post about the "Answer". Not at anyone...just at myself. I am thankful for the "answer" that I received because it brought a hesitation or stillness towards my anger at God...but it did not bring a peace about the loss of Vienne. That's the difference. Even though I have been demanding an answer, at the same time I feel that it is too soon to receive one that is so clear. This is where I get irrational. I am not ready to have peace. I am definitely not ready to "be ok". See, this is where I am finding that some people get confused. Grief over the loss of a child is hard to understand and you truly cannot unless you've been there. The way that Mark and I feel is that when we have something closer to a "good day" or a "peaceful moment", we feel further away from Vienne. We feel closest to her when we mourn and weep and feel heavy and dark. I know that doesn't make sense. I know that Vienne is light and laughter. But, the fact that every day is another day further away from the time when she was alive and every day further along is another day of "moving on" is just painful to us. We are soooo fearful of moving on...because it feels like we are leaving her behind. We do not like to be "wished well"...we do not like prayers for "peace"...we do not like attempts at encouraging us or bringing us joy. For you see, there is nothing that will bring us peace about our daughter being dead.
The reason I have been so frustrated since my last post is also because I have sensed this almost relief from people that there might be a glimpse of me "healing" or "getting better". And, I do not want that yet. It is too fresh. Too raw. Too soon. I understand that friends just want to see me happy again. But, I cannot feel rushed to carry on and get past this. I panic when I sense that pressure. I have heard that the "public" gives you 3 months to grieve and then there is an unsaid expectance to move on. I have also heard that the 3-6 month mark is the hardest on those who are grieving...a lot is due to the fact that friends have pulled away and moved on and expect you to move on...and then those who are grieving are left alone. I am soooo freaked out about this thought. I cannot be left alone or expected to get better. How can you be expected to live without your beloved child...one that you have passionately loved and spent almost every moment with for 4 1/2 years?!
I must clarify, though, that I have received INCREDIBLE support through this. My friends and family are beyond amazing. Overall, I do not feel pressure from those I am closest to at all. The commitment in consistency from them has blessed me more than they know. And, the way this has dramatically affected everyone, even those I do not know, has astounded me. I am just writing this/sharing this out of fear for the future. Things I have been told to be aware of or to expect. I really do not expect, though, to be abandoned by my dearests friends. I don't.
And, for those who do not know what to say ~ I get that. I get the awkwardness. The discomfort and nervousness about saying the wrong thing. Truly, I do. I have learned so many humbling lessons, even through this. You see, my stepfather Tom, lost his daughter 6 years ago. She was murdered. It was horrible. And, sadly, I just didn't know how to act around Tom. I did not know her. I was not close to him yet. And, I was incredibly uncomfortable with grief. I failed my stepdad in so many ways that it brings me to tears now, in shame. He needed the support that I am receiving now, and he didn't get a fraction of it. But, now I understand. I understand that we need to be asked how we are doing. We need to talk about Vienne. We need to talk about our grief. We need to feel comfortable to cry...or to not cry. I am so blessed, though, to have Tom by my side through this...he has been one of our biggest supporters. His emotional availability, empathy, and spiritual encouragement are priceless. So, all this to say that these have been my lessons in grief. I share them with you so that maybe you can glean from this.
Please don't be afraid of us. Honestly, the best thing to say is "this is the most horrific awful worst unimaginable thing ever! And, I have no words, Jenny". Just acknowledging that makes me feel a tad better. If you want to pray for us - pray for strength for us to cope through the rest of our lives without Vienne. If you want to hang out with us, please ask us about the grief. Please do not be afraid to talk about Vienne. Just, please, do not ignore her. We are not ones to shut it down. It soothes us to talk about it and about her. (as you can tell - I am a very open and honest person...just from this blog).
Thank you for reading this. And, thank you to all of you who take the time to comment on here or send me an email/message/text sharing your thoughts on my words. I cherish each one. And, I will save them so that I can look back and read everything over and over again. I do not want to lose one morsel in regards to Vienne.
(FYI: For those who have asked, I think I have fixed the comment section on this blog. Now anyone should be able to comment. Just click the drop menu and select "Anonymous" - and please sign your name, then, so I know who you are.)