Today I threw a Fall Social. I’m around these people all day and I never see them so I forced the interaction. One of my friends laughed at me yesterday because she said, “I never see you but when I do its two or three times that day.” Which is true. We never run into each other because we are so used to being in front of our computers letting our creativity fly. Or comfortable conversing via text or email.
Since Monday the Fall Social became something really important to me. Monday some of us presented a friend with a gift of appreciation and her heart broke. This woman recently lost her 18 year old son in a drowning accident. Her personality is to be the mama bear in any setting she is in. She has put on a brave smile since her return which I believe is more for us than for her. But, you can see it in her eyes just how much she is hurting.
I really hate that word. The last two months I have been forced to deal with the word in order to be cleared to become a foster mom. Let me tell you, grief has no expiration. When I was told that I was going to have to do activities centered around grief and the losses in my life I willing said okay but inwardly said I didn’t need it. I told myself I’ve dealt with grief, I’ve let go, I’ve moved on, I’ve healed. Two years, fifteen years, sixteen years later I’ve learned things about those losses, about myself that really got me thinking.
I understand the mama bear persona. For much of my life that is who I was. I want to protect my group. I think most of it is because there have been times in my life where I couldn’t protect myself. As I watched this woman cry in front of us I became angry. Angry because she kept saying, “I’m sorry, this isn’t how you need to see me.” Angry not at her, but at grief, at loss, at death.
I spent the next two days making sure this social would be an event. I wanted it to be a time where people could walk away from who they are perceived to be and just be. A time where she could gather with her family and friends and knowingly understand “alone” is too lonely. To understand that together, we will meet whatever comes our way. I watched her at the party smiling and laughing. I watched her tell stories and listen to jokes. For just a second she was able to take the walls of her pain down and be. She found a way to work through the grief.
We often hide grief from everyone we come into contact with. But, we don’t have to. Grief is hard. And scary. And frustrating. And exhausting. Grief is dark. And numbing. And sweltering. And cold. But, in order for us to heal and become whole again we must remember that it’s okay to get away from every day life and just be. You aren’t broken nor do you need to fix things and make people happy. The most important thing to do is take time to breathe. To gain your strength. To feel.
And on days, like her Monday, when you receive a grief attack, don’t apologize for feeling. Grief is said to be the last act of love for something we have lost. Let your love shine through. Allow yourself to work through it. xoxo
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