Tuesday, September 14, 2010

good grief

I always cringe a little when I see a mainstream article on grief, especially one where the focus is on celebrities. I immediately get defensive and prepare for what seems inevitable "how they got over it", "how they moved on" and the like. I'm sure that the grieving person, celebrity or not, is cringing right along with me. I have yet to meet a bereaved person who has gotten over it. Learned to live with it? Yes. Found ways to cope? Yes. Found ways to hide it from people who seem uncomfortable? Yup.

But this article was a pleasant surprise; focusing on how very normal grieving behavior is even when it doesn't seem like it to the non-bereaved. This article isn't specific to child loss and while I do feel that burying a child adds another layer of the mourning process, grief is grief and most bereavement is misunderstood in mainstream society.


I've read that immense grief can exaggerate normal behaviors for some people and that was certainly true for me. I'm a list maker. Every morning, I have my to-do list. I've been itemizing, alphabetizing and ordering numerically Christmas lists since I could write. When Keely died, it was like some sick obsession. Lists for the funeral home, the hospital, her belongings, the photographs, lists for thank yous, for cards and gifts, for the cemetery and of course, a master list. I didn't think much of it at the time; it seemed healing for me to have tiny sort of control. I didn't think anyone else would notice my list-making. Sometime in the last 3 years, my mom and husband both admitted that they had noticed. I tell her goodnight everynight and ring the windchimes that were given to us from friends for her funeral; it's my way of saying hello. When I leave her grave, I kiss her headstone 4 times and rub the heart on the front. I've always felt that if someone could read my mind, I'd be committed. Now, 3.5 years on this journey, I realize that death is very much a part of {my} life. Most lives. And that's okay; it's a pretty important step!

I love seeing articles like this, that normalize what's actually normal behavior but may not feel like it or seem like it to outsiders.


No comments:

Post a Comment