Last month, a comment was posted on one of my blogs titled “Just F!ck” that left me irritated. The comment, from someone in my distant past, was condescending, snarky, and meant to let me know that I am doing this grief thing all wrong. Do you know what my reaction to this was? Fuck.
I replied to the uninformed comment before I realized it came from someone I used to know. I kept it brief and non confrontational as I believe learning could take place. Indeed, it won’t.
Upon learning who the author was I became very angry. My anger was disproportionate to what had been written. A stranger could have written that and I would have been irritated then I could brush it off. Seeing as it was from someone who has a god complex . . . who’d belittled me for decades . . . who hasn’t lost a child . . . I didn’t.
I did, however, do some research about anger and grief. One is a natural by-product of the other. Yes, anger can become complicated and be detrimental to healing BUT it is also a portion of the entire process that must be confronted, acknowledged, and worked through in order to gain healing “that sticks”. This being said: working through anger does not mean it won’t reappear as you travel the child loss path. It’s not a one and done kind of thing.
I’ve often likened this journey to travelling through a decimated landscape. One that only slightly resembles the land you inhabited in the “before”. You will find familiar landmarks but they won’t be untouched by the grief. Everything you knew is changed forever. Is this not reason enough to feel periodically enraged? And, when that rage consumes you . . . you must feel it and work through it – UNTIL THE NEXT TIME. Because, there will be a next time.
Do you know why? For the rest of our lives there will be triggers that thrust us into the depths of anger. AND, THAT’S OK.
We have triggers that push us over the edge into renewed deep sorrow. This is to be expected. Ones that pull a happy memory from the back of our minds. How wonderful when this happens!! Jealousies can be set off when we see a whole family enjoying each other. Of course, because we were robbed of our future with our child. And, anger. Anger is just one of the dozens of emotions we will run across again and again as we continually walk toward our horizon. The emotions felt after the loss of a child are too enormous for us to completely work through them in one pass.
DON’T let anyone tell you how and when you should be finished with each of them. Not another grieving parent and, especially, not someone who has no idea what they are talking about! For lack of a better word – they are outsiders. They do not have intimate first hand knowledge of what the child loss journey entails. Therefore, the best thing for them to do is keep their mouths shut. The best thing for you to do is ignore them. Period.
The comment I referred to in the first paragraph had the general tone of “I know better” when it spoke of me “not being able to let go of anger would never allow me to move forward in TRUE healing”. To this sentiment I say: fuck that.
I have very close friends who have lost children and even they don’t know what depth, or width, of healing I have done in the past twelve years. I also have friends, who have never lost a child, that can not even begin to understand the energy it takes to heal as much as I have. So, someone who hasn’t spoken to me in over a decade has no place writing hollow words on my heartfelt sharing about grief.
The two things I wanted to write about in this blog are: 1) Anger is natural and there is no time limit as to when it should be gone. 2) People, especially those who have not lost a child, have no right to make any judgmental statement about where you are in the process. I guess there is a third.3) You have the right to tell someone to exit your life when they think they know better than you just how you should be grieving.
Grieving the death of your beloved child is fucking hard enough without some know-it-all telling you that you are doing it wrong. The weight of what we carry does NOT need to be increased by shame or guilt that someone else decides to heap onto your shoulders.
Each of our journeys, all started with the death of our child, is unique and our’s alone. We have our own order of when things are dealt with . . . our own timetable, too. There is no handbook as to how we are to proceed in the “after”.
Proceed in the way that feels right to you. Your soul will lead you in the direction it needs to go.