I have been writing for Still Standing for close to a year now. Every month when I sit down to begin an article I always try to think of one element of grief and hone in on that. Almost as if I must compartmentalize all of my feelings and then pick which box to open that month. This works out well and I am always able to find something to write about. However, I think sometimes it gives readers a false impression. As if life after loss isn’t this ginormous, messy, unorganized thing.
The reality of my life is complex. As is the reality of my grief. I thought it would get easier after giving birth to Atlas but I was entirely wrong. Grief only got messier. I never handled my grief well to begin with. Sure, I created and wrote and went to counseling. All of this definitely helped me cope and get back to a place where I felt I could function again. And ultimately to a place where I felt ready to try for a rainbow baby. But in the backstage corners of my life, I held resentment toward family members who did not treat our loss with compassion. I held anger for not knowing the reason behind my loss. A myriad of other dark and uncomfortable emotions lurked. Quite honestly, they still do sometimes.
The problem with these emotions is not just that they lurk. It’s also that they are not given space in my life. So they come out of the corners in fits of sadness and anger. What they need is to be acknowledged. I haven’t really taken the time to make art or write about the rage that comes with miscarriage. Nor have I really told other people. When I talk about my story I talk about how sad I am. How that empty space in my heart hurts. I do not talk about how difficult it is to go to holidays and face family, even two years later. I don’t talk about how many friends I lost after I lost Talia. And I think that I need to start.
Related: Raw Grief
Having feelings is not a bad thing. The part that matters is how those feelings are handled. Stuffing them into corners like I have is probably not the best path to take. But if that is the path you’ve taken, then perhaps you can join me in taking a different approach.
Write about all of these feelings. Paint a picture only in the color that you feel expresses whatever feeling you want to get out. Write a letter to the people who hurt you and then burn it. Whatever you do, know this: grief is messy and it will probably never make sense. No matter where you might be on your loss journey, I want you to know that everything you are feeling is one hundred percent okay.
Photo credit: Steve Johnson