Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Enter at Your Own Risk....

Fall has always been my favorite time of year. I love the cooler weather, the crisp air. I love to see the clouds heavy and low in the sky. I love the feel of the balmy breeze as it carries the scent of burning leaves. And I love Halloween.

But with Fall comes memories of the past few years. My dad died two years ago. Jillian’s birthday is coming up. Memories of seizures and sirens.

I had dinner with my mom last night. We were talking about grief, and how grieving is different for each person. We touched on how people, even family members, deal with someone who has suffered the loss of a loved one. “They don’t know what to say”. Or, “They don’t want to make you cry”. Or maybe, “They don’t want to say the wrong thing, so they say nothing”.  

I don’t know. I don’t get it. I don’t understand how the topic of death is so difficult. It’s a part of living, and we will all experience it. All of us are going to die someday. It’s the one certain thing in living. So, why aren’t we living our lives reaching out and caring for those that experience death and grief when it does strike? Why aren’t we learning more about the grieving process? Why do we put so many expectations on those who are actively grieving to move on, get over it, to act in a certain way. I think it’s cruel, selfish, and it makes me angry. And if it makes me angry, how many other people are struggling?  It takes a village, right?

There are many groups out there to support those who have lost a loved one. I think there should be more support groups dedicated to help people understand the grieving process. A group focused on helping the supporter of the griever as they navigate through the wild storms of grief. The sea of emotions, and the uncertainty of “what next”.  Friends and Family. Classes mandatory in high school. Family living, family dying. This topic isn’t going away.

And then…just like that, my thoughts head in another direction. I picture myself on a hard, cold examination table covered in white paper. I hear the doctor’s footsteps stop before my door. I hear the rustle of the clipboard as the doctor removes it from the wall, flipping pages as he reads over the findings. He walks in and sits down on the chair beside me. With a grave expression, he looks into my eyes. “I’m sorry, Susan. The diagnosis is conclusive. You have Grief”.

You have Cancer.
You have Grief.

OH! I have Grief! That explains it. The mumble, jumble, messed up tangle of emotions. The lack of focus and forgetfulness. The laughter, the tears. And that stupid, silly mask sitting on my bedside table waiting to be strapped on as I begin another day. So, it’s okay that Grief is all encompassing in its intensity. That it has several unusual symptoms, and there is no cure. Now I know what I’m dealing with.

It has a name.

It’s real. It isn’t this elusive “thing” or emotion. It has real physical symptoms, and it effects the entire person. For a loooooooong time. To say I’m not disappointed in the lack of knowledge or awareness surrounding this subject would be a lie. I’m strong, yes. But I still hurt. And if by my peeling this grief thing off one bloody layer at a time, exposing it for what it is in the hopes that it touches someone along the way, well, good. I’ll get back to stomping on melanoma soon enough. Right now, I’ve got my own work to do.

If Grief had a ribbon, it would be the color of the rainbow, signifying HOPE. Hope as we move from mourning to Joy.

Because even in grief there is hope. We are Grief Warriors. Bad Ass Grief Warriors.

~embracing crabby