I’ve been speaking with another widow lately and one thing we both agree on is people don’t get it. People do not and cannot understand what the grieving process is like for anyone. I am thankful so many people don’t get it because that means they have not experienced a great loss in their life, but at the same time, I wish people would understand it a little bit better than they all seem to.
I am 100% guilty of not getting it. Not understanding. How could I have before my loss? You can’t. It isn’t possible. You try to imagine and you sympathize and empathize, but you don’t get it.
It’s a shame, really. That we don’t feel comfortable openly talking about our losses and our grief. Every single person will experience at least one great loss in their life that will change and effect them forever. Many more people will experience several losses that have a lifelong effect. Why are we so afraid to talk about our grief? How we are dealing with things? How we aren’t dealing with things? Why do I feel like I have to contact one of my fellow widows, who are also going through their grieving process, in order to be truthful and open about how I feel?
Living in grief and living with grief are two different things to me. My oldest son, Jack, and I have discussed this at length. We are very sad at the loss of Jess Sr., but we aren’t living in grief. We live with it. Living in grief would be letting it consume your entire being. Sadness and loss would be all you think about and focus on. Losing your person would be all consuming and take priority over your entire life. Living with grief is slowly moving forward while still being sad and processing the loss of your person. We still have moments, minutes, hours and days where we do focus on our grief. We have to let ourselves be sad and process all of the thoughts and feelings. To live in grief, in my opinion, would be to waste what life you have been given left to live. You are still here for a reason and you owe it to the person you lost to live up to that reason and make it worthwhile.
The best way I can describe living with grief is it is like living a double life. You go about your days and do all the things while simultaneously thinking about and dealing with being sad, mad or whatever else about your loss. At first, you are literally just going through the motions of your daily life. You can’t even think correctly or process much of anything. As time passes, you will want to actually start living your life and feeling the good emotions, so you actively do things to feel better and live the way you want. At this point, you are still processing your grief (I’m not sure if one ever really gets done processing it). You post happy things on social media and tell people “I’m good!” when asked how you are doing, but you still have this entire thing in you that you are dealing with. You are still sad. You are still mad. You still don’t understand why things happened the way they did. It is hard to explain to someone how happy you are currently with your life and also express how deeply you are still hurting at the same time. How can one be So Happy and So Sad at the same time?!
The purpose of my blog is to help people. I hope by sharing what I am going through, it may help others feel like they are not going crazy. I hope it will get others speaking more openly about grief and give people some type of an idea what it can be like. I can only speak to my grief of losing a husband and father of my children and there are hundreds of other scenarios I cannot imagine myself. All grieving processes are different for every single person, but we all have things in common. We may not follow a tried-and-true handbook or timeline, but we all go through it at some point in our lives. Wouldn’t it be better if we could all help one another along the way?
This isn’t really about me. It’s about all of you reading this right now. I urge you to share your grief. Share your feelings. Talk to someone about what and how you are feeling. Talk to me! I am always here to listen.
Let’s start a conversation and never end it. We don’t have to talk about sadness and grief all the time, but it’s time to start talking about it more.
Most of the time, the thoughts in my head are so random and fleeting that I will go from talking about a television show to saying something about my late husband, Jess, to what we are having for dinner that night. A lot of people are uncomfortable even mentioning the dead person’s name. WHAT? We aren’t supposed to nor will we ever forget they existed and I GUARANTEE the grieving person would LoVe to hear you speak their name and talk about them. The conversations don’t have to be deep. They don’t have to be long. Just let me say “Jess used to do (this) all the time” or “Jess and I did (x,y,z) years ago and it was so fun!” or “I miss Jess” or “Solo parenting sucks, I wish Jess were still here” without having to worry about you cringing or getting uncomfortable.
It is completely acceptable to not understand or get it. In fact, I hope you don’t get it. But…
Let’s start the conversation here.
Say Their Name.
You Are Not Alone.
MAKE GOOD CHOICES.
~Love & Light, Sarah