Parenting
Comments 29

31 Days of Grief: Dark/Light

This post was supposed to be about the dark and the positive sides of the grieving process.

But I have decided to write instead about the negative people that come into your life during your grieving process, how you identify them, how you mute and eventually remove them from your life, if the negativity becomes unbearable.

As you might know, if you have been following my blog for a while, last week I got quite a nasty email from a relative telling me how to grieve, trying to make me feel guilty about the way I choose to remember “my second born” and how my grieving, in all its mess and intensity, is affecting my family. I decided to blog about it in the hope that it will be a lesson, first for the person in case and then, for relatives who are genuinely trying to help a grieving parent but don’t know what are the wrong or the right things to be said or done in such a sensitive situation.

I hoped this episode will end with my reply and possibly with my blog post.

But oh well, surprise, surprise, it hasn’t…

So, here is what I learned and encourage other grieving parents to be aware of:

1. Some people just have to make EVERYTHING about themselves. No matter that your child has died and you want to be left alone, you will receive unrequested advice, shoved down your throat in the “most loving of ways” and when you politely reply denying any assistance, you will be told that YOU are playing the victim. That you “hold on to your grief as a badge of honor and’ you’re suffering more than Christ himself, and more than His mother'”.  Yes, she really said that…

2. Some people just have to have the last word. It doesn’t matter if that word cuts you to the bone and leaves you for dead. So, again,  quote from “Hemingway, who had many tragedies in his life worth noting: “Forget your personal tragedy; We are all bitched from the start and you especially have to be hurt like hell before you can write seriously.  But when you get the damned hurt use it-don’t cheat with it.”  So, yes, if you can’t get your point across, just destroy people’s illusions of being gifted as writers, as they are not Hemingway, at the end of the day, so bitch it!

3. Some people never grow up. You would be surprised to know this email doesn’t come from a teenager in body. But hey, in my perception, some people never mature in mind and experience so everything that life throws at them, they approach it as they did as teenagers. Full stop.

4. Some people are so miserable they have to make your life miserable too. Or imply your life is as miserable as theirs. We haven’t seen this relative for a whole year and a half or so. She lives nowhere near us. And yet, and yet, she knows how I live, how I treat my family, the ins and outs of our privacy. Psychic gifting, I suppose.

5. Some people just can’t handle themselves around pain. So they will avoid it at any price. Even relationships get traded in the equation, as it is easier to be lonely and self-righteous rather than open and vulnerable and accountable for hurtful outbursts.

6. Some people need to “fix” your life. And diagnose you. And label you. And degrade you. From a distance. And it says so much about you as a person, right?

This is the second time this happens to me with Greek women. I know not all Greek women are the same. And that it is most likely a personal trait, rather than a cultural one.

But hey, what’s with the labeling? How do you know I have “self-destructive” relationships, how can you tell “I allow my grief to toss me about and drive me to make choices that do not free me-do not allow my grieving to help me and heal me-it’s almost like you want to harm myself“, when we don’t even live in the same country, when you don’t know my friends, when you haven’t even talked to my husband in months? How on earth can you tell? Oh, the psychic gifting again, of course…

7.Some people feed, live, breathe controversy. They like to create waves. Antagonize people. Stand out. Hurt others for the sake of getting their own voice heard.

8. Some people just make everything into a general lesson of life. If I let you read the emails received, you will notice that the advice given is very general. It is from a text book for a text book person. Not acknowledging in any way that grief and its expression is very personal and very varied.

10001545_10152760715304246_2821366481192034504_nNow, let me tell you this, grieving parent, mourning includes anger, pain, depression, shouting, giving off to God, feeling sick with life and with people. It is okay to feel all of these at once, for a long time, or separate. It is okay to express them as well. Cry, shout, throw things around, go and get counseling if you feel like it, ask for anti-depression pills if you think you need them, fill your house with reminders or strip it of them, as you see fit.

Because let me tell you something, grieving parent. You are entitled to wear your pain in any way you need to. As a badge. As a shield. As a banner. As a starting or finishing line.

Don’t let people feed crap into your life. Your pain is enough crap to be handled for a lifetime.

Free yourself from people who just don’t get it and surround yourself with people that do. My next blog post will speak about them, the wonderful support network I have created and am very grateful for.

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This entry was posted in: Parenting

by

Mum of one beautiful girl on earth and one sweet baby boy in heaven. Daughter of a wonderful woman. Wife of a very entrepreneurial man.

29 Comments

  1. nessjibberjabberuk says

    How awful for you to contend with on top of everything else. You are so right in the points you have made.

  2. I trained as a bereavement counselor, which has given me a good insight into what is right and wrong about grieving, firstly there is nothing wrong, secondly there still isn’t anything wrong with how a person takes that road!!!

    How you choose to act, be and how you cope, work it out is your journey, people who feel the need to offer advice that is negative, how they coped and feel you should emulate are actually stumbling blocks on that journey.

    Suffering myself recently, I am actually still shocked when people tell you or others how to behave. I know I should be used to it as people feel they have some right to tell you how to be. It is ignorant, heartless and has no place! You carry on as I know you will and I wish you strength and peace.

    • Jo, I am so sorry for your loss. I truly hope you are receiving support and living care from the your friends and family on this very hard journey that grief is.xx

  3. jochrisbryan says

    I trained as a bereavement counselor, which has given me a good insight into what is right and wrong about grieving, firstly there is nothing wrong, secondly there still isn’t anything wrong with how a person takes that road!!!

    How you choose to act, be and how you cope, work it out is your journey, people who feel the need to offer advice that is negative, how they coped and feel you should emulate are actually stumbling blocks on that journey.

    Suffering myself recently, I am actually still shocked when people tell you or others how to behave. I know I should be used to it as people feel they have some right to tell you how to be. It is ignorant, heartless and has no place! You carry on as I know you will and I wish you strength and peace.

  4. I’m so sorry you’re having such a difficult time right now. You’re right, a tragedy and the need for real, heartfelt support really makes you see who you can trust to be there for you.

    • Yes, and sometimes a hug and a kind word make a world of difference, no need for lectures and nastiness in such circumstances at all.xx

  5. It’s so hard when people judge. People sometimes feel they have the right to be vocal without really knowing what those words will achieve. I wish you all the best. x

    • Thank you, yes, lack of empathy and a sense of unjustified entitlement can land people in very hot waters, indeed.xx

  6. Sometimes people should just be silent and follow your lead.You and only you know what you need to help you heal and deal with the tragic loss of Georgie. No 2 people in the same situation will handle grief the in the same way. There is no right or wrong way to process your feelings, just the right way for you. x

    • Yes, Louisa, grief is such a very personal journey and no-one should add distress to an already very heavy load.xx

  7. Rachael says

    Oh Id love to slap anyone who dares to
    look in on your/any family’s pain and judge
    Unsolicited advice is never ok, it’s certainly not ok when you are fighting every day to survive and love and breathe like you must be.
    Know what an inspiration you continue to be & I hope that’s the last of the idiots for a while xxx

  8. Grief is very personal and everyone will have a different way of dealing with it. There is no right and wrong and everyone will have to find their own way to cope.

  9. I think grief is very personal and people do deal with it in different ways and there is no right or wrong way to deal with it x

    • That’s exactly right, Rachel, and I am a strong advocate of the personal expression of grief. This is such a hard journey as it is, without infantile expectations of performance.xx

  10. I can not imagine the pain you are going through. My Niece lost her child at six months old and it was terrible., I do not understand why anyone would judge you. Sometimes people say the wrong thing because they just don’t know what to say. Sending love

    • I don’t know why, we are still trying to make sense of her reaction. A simple “I am sorry for your loss” would have been enough.xx

  11. It is your loss and people should not tell you how to cope with it. I usually do not find the words when something like this happenes and prefer to give a big hug and I wish I could give you one now. People do not like to talk about such things as death but it would be so important to do so. When I lost my baby nobody wanted to talk about it. Nobody. When my father died my husbands family said nothing to me. Like it did not happen. So at the end all I can do is to cry alone, but it should not be like that. I hope you also have people around you who can listen when you need to talk about your precious little boy. Big big hugs!

    • I am so sorry for your losses. Please talk to me if you feel the need. I know how painful it is to have no one to talk to who really understands. Big hugs to you too.xx

  12. I can’t believe someone has had the cheek to tell you how to grieve, it is a very personal process and I know if I had gone through something like this I would be broken. You are an inspiration Oana, keep your head held high as beautiful Goergie is in everyones hearts xx

    • Thank you so much for your encouraging words, Kara, they mean so much! As any grieving parent would tell you, the fear of our lost children being forgotten is a painful as the loss itself some days! Thank you for mentioning Georgie to me!xx

  13. VaiChin says

    Some people are just unbelievable. You are right, you certainly are better off without them. Only you know what you are going through as a bereaved mother, nobody has the right to tell you what otherwise x

  14. I’m lost for words. I’m angry at this person I don’t even know and I’m shocked that she is treating you like this when you have so much to deal with. I’m so sorry for your loss xx

  15. How awful for people to pass judgement and teach you how to grieve. Each person deals with these situations in different way, we all deal with emotions differently. Ignore the person and you should do what feels right for you. I am sorry you have to go through this extra pain when you are already having a hard time.

  16. So sorry for your loss. Losing a child is something that no parent should go through and yes everyone grieves differently. Try to ignore this unsympathetic relative. x

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