Grief... Ain't no way OVER it but THROUGH it.
Note: I've been sitting on this post since December 15th. My heart wouldn't let me post it even though my brain told me I needed to. Here it is. Merry Christmas and Happy Kwanzaa Eve to all.
We don't talk about our pain enough. I'm not suggesting that we hold on to it forever.. but when was the last time you just allowed yourself to be sad about something? When was the last time you acknowledged your grief over the loss of someone? Let's think about this for a second. You lose someone important to you and the time we're expected to mourn their loss before we get back into our regular daily lives is how long? 1 week, 2 weeks, 6 months, 1 year? When you lose an immediate family member - a lot of jobs say "take as long as you need..." but only give you 3 official days to plan a funeral, settle the affairs and get your emotions in order - before they expect you back at work full time. Of course, if you have some sick time, you could take mental health days (often taboo)... or vacation days. Unfortunately - there is NOTHING vacation-like about loss.
So.... what do you do? Instead of allowing yourself to focus on your grief for a while, you're busy preparing yourself to return to your regular life. But there is nothing regular about living your life without that special someone, right? Now you're living your days in a completely different way than how you imagined them. This ain't how you planned your life to be. This new normal is now thrown your way with no time for you to prepare, gear up or learn how to deal.
Is this how we should get over our grief? Just deal. Just adapt. Just move on.
I don't think so. I think it's extremely important that we acknowledge that our lives have changed. We should think about what these changes really mean, think about how they really make us feel - talk about it, live in it, sit with it and find ways to get to a better place. I'm all for "big girl panties..." but loss is a different beast than a lot of things. Loss deserves our respect, our time and our effort. There is nothing wrong with feeling something. Sometimes we need to feel in order to "unfeel." Rip off that pain band-aid, cry, scream and let ourselves really FEEL.
For me, letting myself feel my intense grief for the first time was a little scary. I was overwhelmed by how intensely I cried.. almost like my heart exploded... and then, after a few cries and screams (and explosions) it wasn't so bad. Eventually, when I went into my "feeling zone," it felt less intense. I was still extremely sad, but I didn't just waste away and disappear. I survived and exited the other end a little stronger than when I went in. My heart didn't explode as much, my tears didn't stream for as long. Little by little I got myself together. I allowed myself to be sad. Now, I'm not nearly as sad. I still mourn - but I'm not nearly as devastated as I was immediately after loss.