Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Grief and understanding

Years ago I worked with a woman, who I thought of as much older, although she was younger by a couple
of decades than I am now.

She was thin to the point of being haggard and she was in mourning, deep mourning, for her son who was killed in a car crash well over a year before.

Despite her pain, I found that she loved pinks, especially dusty rose shades, a sharp contrast to the idea of black and gray sad colors.

What I didn't understand at the time was that she couldn't seem to get over it. Other people had lost loved ones and moved on.

I would listen to my co-worker talk about her son with what I hoped I was a sympathetic ear. Probably today I would have much more empathy, but I'm not sure if she would have been able to tell the difference in what I was feeling.

I understand grief better now than before.

Since then, I've lost people I've loved, but not my child, who although she in her forties, is still my child,  the person I adore unconditionally. When my daughter was a baby, I doubted if I could have survived her loss. Now I don't know and I don't want to know one way or the other.

Friends, who have lost people they love and almost everyone I know has and as I age the losses mount, handle grief in different ways. Sometimes I find the worse the relationship, the harder the loss.

When I lost my adored father, it hurt, but we had nothing left unsaid between us. Bouncing back is the wrong phrase but acceptance came quickly and the sadness was put away. Even 33 years later there are things I'd like to tell him, and some I don't. I'm grateful I never had to tell him I gave up my nationality and took another, even though he had done the same thing.

I expected it to be easier to lose my mother, where everything was left unsaid. Someone told me it would be harder. I didn't believe them, but they were right.  It took ten years to let in the good memories.

With my beloved stepmom, the fact she was at peace left me grateful. I'd lost her twice. Once as her mind faded and once when her body followed.

Losing a good friend last year has been hard, although she would be angry at being mourned. It is more of the loss of sharing this or that along with appreciation that her death was so sudde.

I will lose other people I love, people who have been important me. That I understand grief better now than I did those many decades ago, is not really a consolation.

I don't want to get good at grief. 

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