- Child Loss
- Complicated Grief
- Dealing With Others in Grief
- Life After Loss
- New Normal
I Don’t Need Your Permission to Grieve
When I went through my divorce I felt completely alone. I made the decision to keep a lot to myself because there was always the possibility of reconciliation and I didn’t want anyone to know what I was going through. The lies, deceit and overall nastiness I was facing. Clue number 1 that it wasn’t the best marriage to start with but regardless of how obviously wrong it was, it was still hard, it was lonely and I felt like a complete failure. Once the papers were signed, once we sat before the judge and she asked the question, “Is this marriage irreparably broken,” we answered, “Yes,” and closure started.
Or so I thought. I called my aunt who had been through a divorce and talked to her about it. From what I remember, the conversation went something like this. “Hi, it’s final. I’m good, I’m over it.” I think she laughed. Well, I know she laughed and maybe even snorted. When she was able to breathe again she told me this. “Honey, you aren’t over it. Don’t trap yourself into thinking that because when something brings back a memory and you hurt or you get sad, it will hurt more if you trick yourself into believing that you are completely ok right now. You will know you are over it when you hear about a horrible accident and you don’t pray that he was in it.”
It’s true. I’d catch myself reading the news and hear about a fiery crash or a fight where a man was knocked out cold and I would quickly scan to read the name and be disappointed when the name wasn’t his.
Then one day I heard about a bad accident, read the paper and prayed for the people involved.
What had just happened? I realized I hadn’t prayed it was him and I called my aunt and said, “I’m healed! I’m over it!.” I retold what had just happened and we celebrated that I was on the road to moving on.
If I kept quiet initially during the separation, once the divorce was over I never stopped talking. I talked to anyone who would listen. I process by talking it through, I sometimes don’t know what I feel until I read what I have written. Then I get a clear understanding of how neurotic I’ve become or sometimes I’m surprised by the healing I see.
I wish that baby loss had a “this is your closure” moment. Losing Tucker and Fletcher is different from any loss I’ve ever faced. Grief is a tricky, nasty monster. Sometimes I feel like I’m getting a handle on this new normal. (Hate, hate, hate that. New normal. I hate clichés and that I have become a bunch kind of drives me nuts but that’s the least of my problems.)
For months after we lost Tucker and Fletcher, I was a zombie. There are moments that I don’t remember, no doubt God protecting me from reliving that pain. Leaving the hospital with memory boxes instead of two blonde hair baby boys, going home to a house decorated for Christmas when Christmas was the last thing I wanted to be reminded of was miserable.
I started painting. Sleep was something that always eludes me during hard times and this was no exception. Many times during the middle of the night Jason would get up to find me and there I’d be at our kitchen island, sad music playing, paint all over me, tears running down my face, and I never even saw him there.
I started blogging more. I started talking on facebook about them. Anyone who would listen heard about my boys. I have 3 beautiful stepkids and I’ve always shared our life with our family and friends on facebook. My boys were no different. They were the answer to not just our prayers but the prayers of so many. Not a day goes by that moms on facebook don’t put something up about their baby girl. Or their son. Why wouldn’t they, they are proud of their kids and they want to share that with others. As does this mom!
But I’m criticized. I’m making people uncomfortable with my grief. I mean, cmon, it’s been almost a year, let’s move it along. Putting pictures of happy times is completely acceptable, letting people know how I really feel? This is facebook not a journal. No one wants to be around a sad person all the time. The pity party is getting old. What’s that, you put something good up that you are proud of? Hope you don’t break your arm by patting yourself on the back.
What have I learned this past year? It’s too much, you can’t win. Grief is just too freakin much sometimes. If it were fair it would only hit you at obvious times and you’d have a bubble pop up that says, “Prepare yourself, life is about to suck for a minute. “ But it doesn’t. And sometimes it sucks for more than a minute. You can be going along, living life, working, laughing, happy and singing loudly to the radio and look over and see Christmas lights decorating a street lamp and it punches you in the gut.
Hard to breath, cant catch your breath, not sure where to look, who to turn to kind of pain. Grief can be lonely and it’s time we give ourselves a break. Make sure that the people giving you advice understand where you are coming from. Everyone is facing something but not all pain is the same. Don’t listen to the noise of those who are telling you you’ve been sad too long when they have never lost anything yet still can’t seem to find happiness of their own. Thank you but I don’t need your approval or permission to grieve.
Grieve. Cry. Laugh. Sing. Remember your baby. I’m remembering mine! Tucker and Fletcher are on my mind every day. I don’t see that ever changing. God has given me the strength, comfort and peace to get this far and when it seems like I can’t get off the floor, He’s always sent me someone to help me up. There are a lot of people watching how we handle the loss of our boys. They’ve seen me ugly cry, they’ve seen me hysterical, they’ve seen me smile, they’ve seen me laugh. But they have never, nor will the ever, see me give up!
I have 2 little boys that fought with all they had to live and though they didn’t live long, they mattered. They got that fighting spirit from their Dad and I and on that, I will forever be proud.