The Many Faces of Grief

Every one is different. Everyone is allowed to grieve differently.

Some become angry. Some fall into a pit of despair and struggle to find their way out. Some accept and just keep moving forward.

There is no right or wrong way to deal with how you are feeling. And no one should tell another person how they should grieve. Life would be wonderful if somehow you could just wake up and decide you are going to be happy from now on. If only it was that easy. But the brain and the heart don’t work like that. Although our heart is just an organ like any other organ in our body, we tend to refer to it as our command post for emotions. The brain regulates everything else about us, but when it comes to the heart there is a disconnect. The brain may say, ” ok, it doesn’t make sense for you to still be hurting after all this time” but the heart has its own agenda and it will hurt as long as it will hurt. And to expect someone to just snap out of their grief is absurd.

Anger is one of the stages of grief. It is a normal response to facing a situation that you literally have no control over. Anger at the person who died may seem preposterous , but it is a natural reaction when one deals with the frustrations of a life and responsibilities once shared that now fall onto the survivor. This is especially true for the bereaved after a suicide. It feels like a slap in the face that the person who was so loved, could just leave like that without taking anyone else’s feelings into consideration. Of course, mental illness is not quite that simple but to the survivor left behind, it will feel like that from time to time. They might feel mad at others for any wrong doing that may have led to the decline in mental health. They might feel animosity at family; spouses ; the situation; the world. They may find themselves lashing out because someone didn’t offer condolences; or maybe they did but they didn’t like the words that were used. They will become angry because although they pushed family and friends away, they somehow feel abandoned. They may become angry because for others, the world continued to turn while they are left behind afraid to leave the moment their loved one left the world.

Falling into a pit of despair may lead to angry outbursts. It may also be the reason why family and friends start to stay away : it’s hard to be around someone who is depressed and down all the time. But it goes back to the inability to tell oneself to snap out of it: It just doesn’t work like that. It’s sad that friends and family stop coming around or calling, but that’s human nature.

Grief is complex. I remember back before we ever lost Sam, saying that I couldn’t imagine surviving the loss of a child. Just about any mother I know has said those exact words. But, when the unthinkable happens, we don’t ” just die”. Mind you, a big piece of me died that day but my body is still here : I’m still alive – or at least I still breath and I still have a heart beat. But the person who I was has gone away and I don’t know where to begin looking for her. I think she is buried with Sam to be honest. I’ve had friends tell me I’m so strong and courageous , and I’m really not sure what they mean. Strength and courage have nothing to do with survivability of losing someone you love. Either I live or I die : courage has little to do with either option. Courage comes with choosing to face something feirce: I certainly did not choose to face this. I had no choice.

I returned to work with reduced hours one month to the day that Sam died. And I’m glad I did because I think it is the only reason why I have” dealt with my grief” as well as I have. I was back to full time hours by Christmas time. I still have struggles at work occasionally and my co workers have been supportive. I talk about Sam at work sometimes: reminiscing on memories and they let me talk. It means alot. I need to talk about him. Just like I need to talk about my surviving children: they are all a part of me and i am proud of them just as i was of him. Being on self isolation because I’m sick with covid has been hard because I have too much time to sit in my thoughts. I’ll be happy to return to work on Friday.

I havnt worn the anger side of grief thus far, and I don’t think I will. At least – I don’t see me lashing out at anyone or anything in the way that I see others do. I could be wrong – maybe it is yet to come. Hell, maybe I need to but I just don’t think it’s in me. Instead, I’ll just simmer in the sadness that I try to hide away from most people. I’ve heard that many mothers never really get over the loss of their child. And I don’t think I ever will.

Published by iamtherealjude

I am a mother of four beautiful grown children. My son Sam: My youngest boy, lost his fight with his demons on Aug 19, 2021. This blog is a dedication to my sweet young man who I will forever look for in the beauty of this world until my last breath.

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