There is this funk that exists. It has been here a few weeks now. I say “been” like it’s gone, but it never seems to be very far away. I don’t know what sets it off so the control freak in me gets twitchy. Searching. Trying to figure out how to manage it. I’m not willing to believe what I already know. Grief can’t be managed.
I awoke one morning feeling puffy and swollen. The night stand littered with tear soaked tissues. The only proof it even happened. But this is what I do.
I grieve in silence.
I tell myself over and over that much of the pressure I feel to appear “normal” is self inflicted. Many years of conditioning to believe death is something you just don’t talk about. I no longer agree. However, I feel the immediate discomfort when someone finds out my son died or I mention him. Sometimes I avoid it entirely out of self preservation. Whether it is spoken or not, it affects me.
Grief is a solo journey. No matter how many people tell you they are there for you, it is a lonely walk. Relationships deteriorate not for lack of care, but for lack of ability. The energy for effort is just not there no matter how much I wish it could be. So the burden of maintaining a relationship falls to the other person. Very few people ask the hard questions and really stick around to carry that burden.
When I began to write on grief and life after, I told myself I would be authentic. Sharing my view of reality to give the tiniest insight into what child loss looks like and how it impacts my every day life. I wanted to connect with other bereaved parents that share similar experiences and remind those that haven’t experienced loss that life is fragile. My plan has fallen short. I realized in these last few weeks, in my funk, that I have only shared a small part of it.
I grieve in silence because I don’t know how to do it any other way. We are never taught to mourn. It is considered so taboo that when you find yourself standing in the middle of it, you have no idea what to do. It feels as if all eyes are on you as you navigate your loss. The weight of loss sits on your shoulders and blinds you to everything else in life. It feels as if you are alone. Since perception is reality, you are alone.
There is so much work to be done in grief. Most of it you do need to do on your own. It is about learning balance and self care. Sorting through your beliefs and finding ways to maintain a connection with your loved one. Rebuilding your life, a life you didn’t want that was thrust upon you, in a way you can learn to find happiness again. If you can find someone to walk next to you and seek to understand your journey with no judgement, you are lucky!
I want to help change how the world views death and grief. While it isn’t a cause I would have ever chosen to sign up for, the universe has other plans. In order to promote change, I must learn to grieve more openly. To continue sharing our story. To help others share their story.
So I’m shaking off my funk as best I can. I’m back to writing!
If you would like to share part of your grief journey, please consider submitting your story here.