I started writing and getting my thoughts out on paper within days of Joe being gone. Some thoughts written in those first few days or weeks are raw and real and therefore, not so pretty. This was something I wrote about 4 weeks after.
In this short, yet longest, month of my life, I’ve quickly learned that grief can be a lot of things: anguish, pain, anger, love, numbness. I mean, there are five stages after all. One word I haven’t heard when learning about grief is consideration. Can grief be considerate?
Let me explain a bit how I’ve arrived at this question. With the loss of a person who was so many things, a son, brother, husband, father and friend, you have many people experiencing the loss of the same person but they experience it quite differently. And, of course, that’s normal! We all (or at least we all should) understand the concept that everyone grieves differently. And it’s true. Grief isn’t one size fits all. It’s not linear, organized, or neat. Everyone should be allowed to grieve in the way that works for them. Well, duh, right?
Wrong. If I’m being frank, it doesn’t seem to be so obvious for some. I was surprised to find that this is not always the thought process. Now, let me say, I know profound loss can cloud our thoughts, cause us to lose rational thought and, in some ways, can cause us to become lost in ourselves. Essentially, selfish. And, That. Is. OK! We are allowed to and should be selfish on our journey to healing. But, what happens when that self-centered focus causes someone else who is grieving to have to be considerate?
It’s my nature to listen, to reflect, to give the benefit of the doubt and to understand. I’m realizing however, that quality of mine has truly been challenged in this new grief experience. Though I know it is not intentional, in some ways, I feel like I am being asked to put my heartache aside because it makes things “easier” for someone else. To disregard my discomfort, my anxiety, my endless feeling of being overwhelmed simply because it’ll help another person “feel better.” Despite my entire world being turned upside down, the ultimate change, I am expected to accommodate. My grief becomes questioned because I’m not seen crying most moments of the day and I get out of bed (um, hello, I have a six month old). I choose to look for the positive when I can and to some, that apparently translates to me not grieving at their level. But they tell me, “don’t worry, you’ll get there” (insert face palm emoji here).
Yet, even writing this, I feel guilty. Guilty being negative towards others when their hearts are broken, too. But sometimes, I can’t take it. Sometimes, I don’t want to tiptoe around others. I don’t want to put aside the way something affects me simply because someone else needs it more. I don’t want to be understanding and quite honestly, I don’t always want to put the feelings of others first. I’m struggling with the thought process of, “you don’t have to consider how your actions may affect me so why then do I have to be understanding of yours?” This angry, frustrated point of view is a bit different for me, not typically in my character. This life altering, gut wrenching loss, this grief, maybe it’s changing me. I like to think the anger, the bitterness is not permanent but the reality is, those two feelings are certainly in the wheelhouse of grief.
This journey is a forever one and one that twists and turns each day. I’ll learn and grow, discover new feelings and form new conclusions. At this point, I’ve come to the conclusion that grief is many things but it’s not, and shouldn’t have to be, considerate.