First, I’d like to issue a warning about this blog. I’m irritated and my words may include some strong language. This happens now and then. It’s happening now.
I follow quite a few “pages” on Facebook. Often there are shared posts which are meant to be inspirational. The “me” I was before my daughter’s death would have, undoubtedly, found motivation in their musings about love, life, and the world. The “me” created by her passing isn’t so positive they are completely true. Furthermore, I believe they can only be true for those who have not lost a child.
A few days ago, I ran across just such a post. I won’t share it in its entirety here . . . but I’ll share the lines that gave me pause:
“And then it happens. One day you wake up and you’re in this place. You’re in this place where everything feels right.”
It goes on to explain how you will be at peace with all you’ve been through . . . everything you’ve experienced.
It’s not as often as you think that I comment being that I am a writer. My replies are not as snarky as they were when I was newly bereaved. I was deeply hurting and could not see anything positive, anywhere. I’m willing to concede this might be the case, today, as well.
After reading the meant-to-be uplifting words pertaining to life’s journey that brings you through hard times . . . I had a genuine question. Can we all reach this place? This place I envision as balancing atop the crest of mountain, seeing all that was and all that will be, down below? Where the air is pure and the sun warm and everything in its appropriate place? So, I added a comment.
“I wonder if someone who’s lost a child can reach this. It’s a great concept but sadly I don’t think everyone can reach this place.”
As you can imagine, there were many who replied, and too many who didn’t quite understand. Two replies irritated me much more than they maybe should have. One of them is on my list as to what to never say to a grieving mother: Time heals all wounds. No it doesn’t. Some wounds never heal no matter how much time passes. I know the person saying this is trying to help us but they aren’t.
The second comment that pissed me off is one I’ve not heard in the eleven years I have spent as a grieving mother. I believe my exact response upon reading it was: you’ve got to be fucking kidding me. Believe me, it was not because I was elated someone had finally given me the secret to healing from the pain of child loss (if only).
More so because the one word thrown at my question was “willpower”. Willpower! Is that the answer, Christine L. from Doesn’t Matter, USA? All I need is willpower?? Why didn’t someone tell me this sooner!! Holy shit!!
When I’m cradling the marble urn holding my daughter’s ashes I’ll just put it down and sternly tell myself to have more willpower in letting her go!! Each night, as the tears fall onto my pillow I’ll remind myself that all I need is a little more willpower to stop my crying!! As dawn breaks, and I am having difficulty forcing myself out of bed to face another day in a world that doesn’t hold my daughter anymore, I’ll chastise myself with the reminder: All you need, Diane, is more fucking willpower!! Stop being a little bitch!!! Pull yourself together . . . you can will all of this pain away!! Next time I reach for Becca’s baby doll to hold, because I can not hold her anymore, I’ll be strong and turn the fuck away. And in following your answer I will be turning toward happiness, no?
You know what Christine L. from Doesn’t Matter, USA. fuck your comment. Do you want to know why I say fuck your comment? Please, allow me to tell you.
The definition of willpower is: control exerted to do something or restrain impulses. Which part of this definition, Christine, should a bereaved mother use? Hmmm, let’s see . . . should I control my mind in a way that continually turns my thoughts toward happy things? Yes? Alright, I’ll choose a happy memory from my child’s life (ended too early) and concentrate on that!! When the sadness starts to seep into the image I’ll just tell it to go away. How’s that? Fucking brilliant, Christine!! Or maybe, I’ll use the latter part of the definition and restrain myself from from running my hand across the plaster mold of her’s. Just will myself to turn away from that which both give me comfort and causes me pain. Yes?
Let me tell you this, Christine, being alive fucking causes me pain. Her existence came through me and is in me. Attached to every happy memory there is now a sadness that accompanies it. Therein lies the reason I made my comment in the first place. Can we find a place where everything is ok. I doubt it.
We are alive . . . but we are dead.
We are here . . . yet absent.
When we laugh . . . we cry.
Grieving mothers walk in two worlds.
We are the ghost of our former self.
We are the keepers of our deceased children.
We exist. We fucking continue to exist.
So, Christine L. from Facebook, you are fucking wrong. Willpower is for putting down a donut, not healing from our pain. (Thanks for that line, Stacey) Willpower is used to exercise more . . . not for finding happiness after losing a child. Don’t add more guilt to an already monumentally difficult journey by cheapening our experience with a your fucking ridiculous single word answer. If healing were that fucking easy . . . I’d be in the place the initial post spoke of.
I will say this: I used willpower today in not telling Christine to go fornicate with herself. And, it wasn’t easy.
But, I did it.