Why Bullying About Grief’s [Lack of] Timeline is Unhelpful

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our children

Today my daughter would have been one year and four months, if she’d lived.

The grief is starting to get uncomfortable now.

Well, not the grief, really.  People’s reactions to the grief, to my feeling and expressing of it.  I’m feeling pressure to stop talking about it, about her.  To “get over it,” to “move on.”

They don’t understand.  You don’t just get over something like this.  Because no matter how much you express or repress your pain, it is always there.  It always rises up and knocks you down, no matter how much you think you’ve healed.

At least, that’s how it feels to me.

And really, it’s not all that many people who have said the words that knife deep into my heart, that urge me to forget my daughter.  But it’s enough people, and it’s people who are supposed to count for more, people who wear the name “family.”

It’s enough people that I wonder what other people are thinking, the ones who say nothing.  Enough that I wonder if people think I’m hanging onto this grief for the attention or the drama.  Enough that I feel afraid to wear my necklaces — gifts from friends and family, I might add — that boldly proclaim the fact that I have two children.

Here’s the thing that I think the ones who cut with their words don’t understand — that I don’t go looking for the grief.  I don’t want to ache with the missing of her.

I don’t seek out the pain.  It finds me, always.

Especially around this time of the month, every month.  Every month the anger that masks the pain rises, the irritability, the tears, and I feel like I’m going insane — until I look at the calendar and realize that it’s the eighteenth (the day we found out she died), the nineteenth (the day I was admitted for her induction), the twentieth (the day she was stillborn).

I never notice the calendar and think, “Oh, it’s her days,” and muster up the sadness.  The sadness always comes first.  My body remembers before my mind.

If I were to stop talking about my son, to stop being blessed and amazed by him, to stop rejoicing in his little miracle of a self, I would be criticized.  So how does it follow that I should never talk about my daughter, that I should never rejoice in the miracle of her short life?

I cannot leave her memory behind, and the pain of missing her will not leave me.  There is healing, there is restoration in God’s hands, but silence and forgetting have no place in those things.

In case you don’t know it, in case you’ve been told otherwise, let me remind you, my sweet friends — grief is a symptom of love.  Grief is natural and normal.  Grief is healing.  Grief has no time limit.

Grief is necessary.

Let no one bully you into thinking anything else.

As for me, I will pray for courage and wear my necklaces and tell this story that I’ve been given.  It feels wrong to do anything else.

our children
This post was first published at www.bethmorey.com.

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Beth About Beth

Beth Morey is the mixed media artist behind Epiphany Art Studio . Her soulful and whimsical creations are born out of the griefs, joys, and not-knowings of life. She is also the founder of Made , an online course exploring the intersection of faith and art, and the author of the creative healing workbook, Life After Eating Disorder. Beth loves meeting new friends through her blog , where she writes about faith, creativity, and life after stillbirth. She lives in Montana with the Best Husband Ever, their rainbow son, and their three naughty dogs. You can find Beth at Epiphany Art Studio — www.epiphanyartstudio.etsy.com or at her blog, www.bethmorey.com. You can also see her work at
Life After Eating Disorder -- http://www.amazon.com/Life-After-Eating-Disorder-Have/dp/1478105453/

Comments

  1. First off I want to thank you Beth! Monday marked three months since I lost my angel and I am going through the same thing. Everyone seems to have moved on or just tell me to “have another”. I too have found my pain bubble to the surface the week before the 19th. I know that I will never forget my angel and the loss will live with me because no matter how long we carried our angels on earth we will love and miss them every day of our lives.

  2. Tiffany O'Connor says:

    Yesterday August 19 was 1 month since I found out my full term baby girl Lydia Grace’s heart stopped beating. It hit me like a ton of bricks. My days make no sense and mesh together so I didn’t even realize it was the 19th till after I had been unable to get out of bed or stop crying for hrs on end. I knew I had to get up. I’m a single mom with a 5 year old who needed me. The day was torture. Not only because of the day itself and the fact that the world keeps turning even though I want it to go back, but the next day, today, was the day she was born. I tried to reach out to friends and some spoke with comforting words and gestures, but most wanted me to “start to move forward”. They just don’t understand. Not only do i not want to, but i literally can’t. They can’t see how much it tortures me and that this pain cuts so deep i can’t think, breathe or function at all. They miss the”old me”. Sorry to say, but that person no longer exists and never will.

  3. sharon johnson says:

    Please Beth, wear your baby’s necklace. Buy her presents on her birthday or Christmas. Talk to your son about his sissy. My daughter lost one of her tiny twins,
    and i try so hard to keep sweet Angel Mia a part of our lives. I know her Mama wants that too. But as time goes on, I see her NOT wearing the ‘twin’ jewelry.
    In her home, and even in her tattoo, she will forever present both of her daughters.
    But i think sometimes, in public, it’s easier not to explain. Me? I take every opportunity to tell the whole story. Sometimes now, 19 months later, i still can’t believe there is only one little girl to dote on. I still remember the first sonogram when we learned there were 2. TWO!! And forever there are 2. Sisters. Always.
    Never let anyone trivialize your loss…or her life. Peace and love, Dear. This gramma knows…

  4. Your necklace is beautiful, Beth. Our Joshua was born on the 20th (February) too. The 20th always seems to knock me over. Thinking of you and Eve today.

  5. MattandAndrewsMom says:

    Yes, the timeline “expectation” by others has made me uncomfortable. So much so that I have made a deliberate choice not to expect anything from them. Zip. There may even be a bit of snobbery on my part “Clearly you can’t handle the real sh_t that life dishes out”. Or “You are all about the superficial accoutrements of this life; delving into the deep stuff is over your head”. I don’t like that part of me. The judgment. Other days I think “perhaps I am too caught up with my own grief that I fail to recognize that you have your own story that I can’t appreciate… because my path is different. My internal stream of conscious vacillates from jealousy, to tolerance, to compassion for the vast array of the daily struggles that surround us all. The Buddhists believe that what annoys us the most about others is actually a reflection of what we see in ourselves. I don’t understand this concept….yet. I’d like to. I need to consider that theory more on my highly reactive days. I have the most tolerance when I tap into my spiritual side and choose to say a prayer for the as_hole that may just be having a bad day/week/year/lifetime themselves.

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