When we mourn, it is for our loss; no matter the loss, we mourn a change to our circumstance. The degree of our mourning, the style of our mourning, how we grieve it is deeply personal. No other person can tell us whether our mourning is too great or not great enough, too short or long, appropriate or inappropriate considering the specific loss we have experienced. Whether we are heartless, or instead whether we feel too deeply our loss. Grief is very personal, expressed in both public and private it remains nonetheless a very personal expression.
Oh, I know there have been countless studies and pragmatically I understand the stages of grief, truly, I do. I also understand I have been hit with perhaps too many things all in a very short space of time and I haven’t processed one thing before being punched in the head by another. Rationally, I ‘get’ that I am not working through the stages of grief in the manner people expect, or showing the outward signs of grief for the individual losses in the manner others expect of me. I also know this makes people uncomfortable.
I can’t help their discomfort.
I can’t even particularly gather the energy to care about their discomfort.
In fact, I do not consider their discomfort as relevant to what is needful for me, for my life, for my future. This week I have done some soul searching, I have done some foot stomping, I have done some staring in the mirror and asking myself some hard questions.
- What do I want?
- What is important to me?
- What do I need?
- What are my core values?
- How do I want to live the rest of my life?
These were important questions for me to ask and answer. I don’t know that I have fully answered all of them to my satisfaction; I have started though. This morning I woke to a comment on my previous post (Not Strong) filled with malice and written purely with the intent to hurt. I considered simply sending it to Spam rather than answering and perhaps I should have, but I allowed it to stand and I answered with exactly the anger I felt, perhaps the anger I needed for others who have treated me without care, compassion, empathy or respect. I found though, this comment simply pushed me over the edge and so I let it stand.
I saw this quote today and it struck me;
“Do what you feel in your heart is right, for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do and damned if you don’t.” Eleanor Roosevelt
This is the truth, isn’t it? This is part of the answer to all of my questions, the first steps toward moving forward. Not fearfully, not ashamed of my failure but instead proud of my success. I shouldn’t hide who I am, dim my light or attempt to fill the bucket of other people’s expectations, I have been doing this my entire life and it did not make me joyful, it did not create a happy home, nor did it make me want to get out of bed and gladly go to work every morning. What fulfilling everyone else’s expectations did to me was slowly kill my soul. When I allowed people to speak to me as if my humanity was not worthy of respect, without saying “No”, whether from a family member, a loved one, a friend or an employer or even a stranger in cyber space; what it did was diminish me in my own eyes.
Is the sadness over? No, probably not. It has been less than three months. In this short period, I have lost a beloved husband, I am unemployed and I have lost a mother no matter the relationship. These are all very difficult losses and hard to process, especially on top of each other the way they have been. The reality is, I have a right to feel sad, I have a right to be pissed off; I have the right to feel any damned way I want to feel. This is hard, there is no other way to say it but this is hard.
Hopefully, I will have more good days than bad days. I keep looking for silver linings, I truly do. I have had a number of decent prospects and am committed to finding the ‘right’ job not just any job that is one of the answers. Life transitions are difficult, I know that.
As to the rest, I hope those of you who read and hang with me, who offer your support and advice will continue to do so. I know, I haven’t been my normal self. I will get back there.