Dealing with grief is different for everyone. There is no “path” that everyone takes. A kind friend got me a book called “It’s OK That You’re Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand” I haven’t started it yet, for a multitude of reasons, but that title totally struck a chord with me. I started following the author Megan Devine on Instagram and just her posts there have been so helpful. So many times she has shared something that matched up perfectly with how I was feeling that day.
Recently Megan posted something on Instagram that I felt she had posted just for me.
“Wanting to share your story with everyone or with no one are both #PerfectlyNormal in grief. You may find that you share the story of your loss again and again, even (or especially) with random strangers, or people you’ve just met. That’s very #PerfectlyNormalGrief
This repetition is one way the creative mind tries to reorder the world when it’s been dissolved. We tell the story again and again because the story NEEDS to be told—we’re looking for some way this makes sense, even if it never can.
On the flip side, if you choose not to reveal your broken heart, or even the cold hard facts to other people, you are not betraying the one you’ve lost. Though it feels bizarre to talk around the gaping hole in your life, to answer “I’m fine, thanks” to a routine question when you are not in any way fine, that is a kindness to yourself.
Not everyone deserves to hear your grief. Not everyone is capable of hearing it. Part of living with grief is learning to discern who is safe and who is not, who is worthy, and who is not.”
Of course, I have told people that my father has died. I’ve told people that he died from stage 4 lung cancer. I’ve told people how horrible the last 24 hours were. I’ve told people that I wouldn’t wish what happened on my worst enemy. But I haven’t told ANYONE what actually happened. I just can’t do it.
It’s not that there isn’t anyone I trust enough to tell, because I am lucky enough to have a group of folks that I could absolutely tell. It is that I don’t want anyone else to have to “deal” with what happened. I don’t want anyone else, who wasn’t there, to have to shoulder that. Shit, I don’t even want to and I was there. A few people have told me that it would probably help if I at least told one person what happened, but I just can’t get the words out. I can barely think about what happened without losing it, so how am I supposed to tell someone about it? Megan’s post helped me see that it is okay – either way.
I’ve thought about writing it all down. Not to share with anyone, but just to try and get it all out. In the past, I’ve done that at certain times. Or write a letter that I never intended to send. But the idea of putting everything down that happened is downright terrifying. Even now, writing this, I have to take breaks because I can’t see the screen through the tears.
I have an appointment with a grief counselor today. I don’t really want to go because I’m afraid. I’m afraid of what they might say, what I might say, and mostly I’m scared of the feelings it is bound to bring about. I feel angry, sad, upset, mad, guilty, alone, frustrated, relieved, confused, heartbroken, and a slew of other emotions daily. Why would I want to drag that all up and talk about it? I just don’t know.
But I’m going to go. I don’t want to, but I will. I’m going to go because if there is even the slightest chance it will help it is worth it. I’m going to go because I know that my dad wouldn’t want me feeling this way. I’m going to go because I deserve to feel better. I’m going to go.