Pick me, pick me! How often as children and maybe even as adults have we hoped to be chosen to give the answer or join the team. Everyone dreaded the know-it-all and no one wanted to be picked last for the team. In between all this are those individuals that rarely say a thing, or are picked somewhere in the middle of the line-up of potential teammates.
So many of us are in that middle ground, we have the answers but do not share, we want to play but it doesn't really matter which team we are on. We coast through life just hoping to get by, maybe someone notices us, maybe no one does. It's okay, it really doesn't matter, until we lose someone we love.
But if you are someone who likes to express themselves, who knows what team they would like to be on, losing someone can be quite interesting. I am verbal, I have read many books in my life and have a cache of useless trivial knowledge stored in my brain. Occasionally a tidbit of this knowledge pipes up and there I go again, having the most obscure answers to something. My kids have dubbed them mom isms.
When my daughter died, at first I was very quiet, just wanted to be alone, seeking solace. If I couldn't achieve it at home, I would take a ride to the seashore and listen to the crashing waves. On those days where I needed to stay close to home, I would often pick up a coffee after dropping my son off at school and head to the cemetery. Yes, the cemetery, it is a great place to be alone with your thoughts, cry and scream out loud if need be, or just sit and talk to your loved one. Besides no one bothers you, they may nod as they walk by, say a quick morning, but that's it, you are left pretty much by yourself. I would do this when I knew I couldn't get peace and quiet at home.
As time went on, I found myself wanting to talk, to share my story, and thankfully I found some willing souls who allowed me to do just that. At home however, it was a different story, if I talked about Rachel, my son would retreat, my daughter would say here you go again and my husband would begin to tear up. It became very difficult and uncomfortable, I felt as if I were walking on eggshells around my immediate family. These are the people who are supposed to understand, the ones who stand by you through thick or thin. Why then did they not want to talk about Rachel, why was this topic such taboo.
My belief was if I shared her story, I would some how find healing, by talking about her I was insuring that her memory lived on. It was working for me, but definitely not for the rest of my immediate family.
You may find yourself in this very awkward situation, some may walk away from you, others shrug you off. Still others my plainly tell you to shut-up, enough already. Now all of a sudden, you feel as if everything around you is falling apart. I thought we all felt the same way, why is it so hard to talk about any of this. What we fail to see is that we do not all travel on this path in sync. We are all at different legs of this journey, a few are still in shock, some are in denial, there are those who are angry, some bob around in a sea of confusion, others have learned to accept the death, and some know that they must go on.
At a meeting that I was at earlier this evening, I noticed that when the group was asked a question, a few readily answered, while others waited, weighing their questions in their heads. "What if it's not the right answer, what if it's a dumb question? Let's see what the majority says, then I'll chime in. As I drove home, I started to think about my blog topic, and realized how we play out this scenario in many aspects of our lives. You get a feel for your audience, you watch for the reactions to what is said, and then you respond accordingly.
Grief is so similar, we watch the reactions of others, we avoid saying 'the name' in some environments, we know when we can talk and when it is best to say nothing at all. Until one day when we say ENOUGH! I need to talk, I need to share, can someone just please listen to me. I had and still have a handful of wonderful souls, who let me ramble on, saying whatever comes to mind. I also sought out counseling which let me openly discuss and say things I wouldn't dare say to family or friends. This gave me an avenue to share not only my emotions, but the hurts dealt to me by well-meaning people.
Pick me! Pick someone. Find a sounding board, someone who will let you be you, without judgement, without pity, allowing you to say what comes to mind. In a book I read "Rachel's Cry, A Journey Through Grief" - real name, and yes, I may have picked it up because of the name. In it the author, Richard A. Drew, M.D., expresses his journey through grief in poetry. It was his way of sharing his loss, and how it effected him. In his introduction he states "My goal in writing these poems was primarily self-therapy. However, I hope sharing them might help others who are struggling through grief."
Here is an excerpt from one of his poems, The Psychiatrist:
"I want my son back. I want to know why
He died. Since that is not possible,
Who'll cry along with me and hold my hand,
And will let me be as sad as I choose
Without giving advice. Who won't leave when I lose
My temper. Who'll hear without judging when
I rail at God and ask where has He been.
I want you to care, then, if you see fit,
Break my heart gently. Don't smash it to bits."
So go ahead raise your hand, answer that question, be the first in line. Talk about it if that is what you need, or just sit quietly with someone who understands. But most importantly allow yourself to grieve.