Friday, February 22, 2013

It's okay to grieve

It's Lent, and I've been meaning to write a little about it, but my inlaws are in town and I'm tired (of them). KIDDING! I'm tired of my schedule disruption, and of dealing with lots of new people, especially knowing that most of them don't like me. But I've decided I don't care. That is, I will do what I want, say what I want, and live how I want, all while being loving toward them. And it's working. I'm much less stressed than last time. It's nice. Both my sisters-in-law have commented on how good I look, and how much weight I've lost (ha. not an ounce), and I credit it all to feeling better. I just look better because I don't look sick and stressed. YAY for side effects.

As I've mentioned, my church is closing, and I'm not taking it well. We're talking about the stages of grief, and the lovely Rev. Erin keeps asking me how I"m doing with it, and my answer is the same every time, "I'm rapid cycling through the stages". I'm accepting it, then mad, then sad, then trying to figure out a way to make it not happen, then just totally believing in it not happening, then mad again, etc. And then kind of all of them at the same time: I just can't believe it! What a bunch of quitters! I could make this work, if only...! This is so sad, but it'll be okay.

And speaking of grief, there was an ugly house fire that killed three people the other night. One of them was my SEA's best friend's sister. No connection to me, but the SEA knew her well enough. She's going to the funeral this morning. We were talking today about how our society really sucks at helping other people through grief. We offer platitudes and then forget about it, while our friend grieves alone. The platitudes are easy to understand; people want to offer comfort and hope. We say stupid shit like, "He's happy now" (he was happy before!) "She's with God now" (She was with God before! And what if the grieving survivor isn't religious? SHUT UP with the God stuff unless you know it'll be welcome.) "There's a reason for everything!" (Who cares?! It's grief.). We have these weird traditions of bringing food to the house of the person grieving (usually gross crap they'd never eat) until the funeral, and then we, by and large, ignore them and go back to living our lives without any sort of thought about them other than a passing, "Gee, I wonder how X is". I saw it when Dad died. People called and came over and brought food. Until the funeral. After the service, everyone came back to Mom's house, ate most of the food, and then never called again. Hardly anyone ever even mentioned my Dad that day. And one person even had the nerve to talk to me about my birth family.

Not a single person called me to check on me. A few called me to see how Mom was.

We are failing. We are failing miserably at comforting the grieving. We're failing miserably at being allowed to grieve. When I was thanking all the people at church who sent me cards (and seriously, greeting cards are an acceptable way to say I recognise you're going through something, but I don't want to have to talk to you), I started to cry. Afterward, someone told me that by now, I shouldn't be crying so much, and maybe I should go get therapy. It was 4 weeks.

I'm not as bitter as I sound. This is just an honest recounting of what happened, and how I feel it wasn't enough. And how I feel that as a society, we can do better for people in mourning. I cannot imagine the pain the family of the people who died in the fire. Cannot begin to fathom. I hope so much that they have someone with them who stays, long after today. Who calls, checks, who takes them out, helps them feel somewhat normal again. And most importantly reminds them that they've not forgotten their loved one, and not forgotten their pain. And that it is okay to grieve.

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