Why are humans so clueless when it comes to grief? I mean, with all of the knowledge we possess and all of the things we seem to "understand", why is it that we absolutely suck at this concept? I'll tell you why, because it's freaking INSANE. That's why. It's up and down and in and out and guiding and twisting and pushing and pulling. Even the person going through it has no freaking clue what's going on at any given moment. So, it really should be no surprise that someone who hasn't had a significant brush with grief wouldn't know what to expect.
Grief, like everything else, is best understood only when you're experiencing it firsthand. I realize that this seems sort of obvious , but I think I'm just so unbelievably shocked by the things that I'm learning, that I need to do things like state the obvious. I'm constantly amazed by other people's reactions to someone who is grieving. It's like it's the first time we've ever considered the possibility that another human being could be in this much pain. We fumble for the "right" words, and we trip over the wrong ones all the time. We try to find a common ground when we know that one doesn't exist. We reach out hesitantly, desperately wanting to alleviate pain, but oddly enough, looking for our own comfort at the same time.
It's as if we're children, and we have no previous life experience to guide us. Although, oddly enough, children are so much better at it than we are. I can't believe how many times I've heard someone say, "I didn't want to say anything, because I'm afraid I'll make you sad." This blows my mind. First of all, I hate the word "sad". I use it all the time, but I hate it because it doesn't even scratch the surface. I'm not "sad", I'm broken, I'm shredded, I'm turned inside out, I'm lost, I'm gone. But, I'm not "sad." Secondly, this is a constant state for me. It is the very essence of my current existence, so hearing you say his name or bringing up a memory you cherish will not make me "sad." In fact, I LOVE hearing stories about him. It's hearing them stop that will be unbearable.
One of the worst things about grief is that it changes so many hidden aspects of your life. It's not enough that a piece of you has died, you're also faced with a whole new set of "normal." People who used to call and text, asking mundane questions, or just making a funny joke aren't doing that anymore. And I don't say this to make my phone start lighting up like the Fourth of July. Because I NEED the space, but it doesn't change the fact that this is yet another difference. I think the changes have to do with the fact that when the earth loses even one soul, it's thrown off a bit. Alignment is going to shift. Life is going to shift. I truly believe that we're all connected, and on some level we all feel each other's losses.
This brings me to another point. ALL grief is different. I'm always interested to see the ways in which people try to connect their grief with someone else's. I'm not surprised, just interested. We all do this. It's part of our need to stay connected. I do this, too. Even now, I find myself seeking out others who have lost children. But guess what? Not ONE of us is the same. We all grieve in totally different ways and we're all in different stages. I thought that talking to someone with a sick child would be more like my situation than someone who lost a child in a car accident. And while there are certainly some similarities, the truth is that each situation is so incredibly different because of the people involved in the grief. This shouldn't be all that shocking, but I assure you it is.
Something I've noticed and struggled with recently is the fact that I tend to only gravitate toward a small group of people. I can only speak to certain individuals right now. I don't know why this is, but I do know that I can't help it. What I've learned though, is that this makes those who have always been close to me, uncomfortable. I am truly sorry for that, and if I could change it I would. But, I can't. This is just how it is right now. It doesn't mean that I love you less or that you've done something to hurt me. This isn't about anyone but me. As selfish as that may sound, it's the truth. This is the raw, harsh truth of grief. It doesn't make sense. It hurts, and it leaves us questioning every part of it.
I don't intend for this to sound like a complaint. And I certainly don't want anyone to think that I'm above any of this. Until now, I'd never been through this either, so I said/thought all the same things. To be quite honest, I'm still confused as to how this works. I'm simply trying to put into words what it feels like to be in this world I'm living in. Well, at least what it feels like for me. I'm sure others in similar situations could disagree, and that's ok. In fact, I would expect that to be the case. Just know that wherever I am in this process, however I seem to the outside world, I still feel the connections. I feel the love and support. I feel the pain and empathy. And I thank you for all of it, even if I can't say it to you right now. I especially thank those who have seen my worst and haven't run away screaming. Sometimes I feel like you drew the short straw, and although I'm inclined to apologize for that, I'm so very glad you did.