I don’t like to brag. And this certainly isn’t a brag- worthy title but I’m pretty much a connoisseur at grief and loss of loved ones.
I have experienced death and loss throughout my life starting at age 9 with my grandfather. My Pop played a vital role in raising me and caring for me on a daily basis prior to his death.
Age 20- Brian-my stepfather – who left my mother and 4 year old brother reeling.
Age 22- my favorite uncle- Joe. He was my confidante, my cheerleader, my friend.
Age 35- my 20 year old brother- Travis – my first baby. He never even got to really blossom into his potential.
Age 38- my mother- Barbara- does this even need further qualification? My mother…..
Experiencing this many unique versions of family members’ deaths teaches you quite a bit about sitting in your own emotional discomfort. Living in grief teaches you to survive and function with a veil shrouding you, an invisible weight you always carry, a smile that doesn’t quite reach your eyes.
Active grieving teaches you about existing in a culture where an acceptable time frame, set of behaviors and responses are deemed appropriate and healthy and normal and you are abnormal if you do not fit into that framework.
You live in a world where people feel either they should ignore your recent loss or smother you in disgusting cliches and platitudes.
You learn to scream silently, internally while wearing a placid mask for a face instead of throat punching someone who tells you they understand just how you feel because their dog just died.
You become comfortable managing isolation and the feeling that you have someone else’s skin on.
Hopefully, you also learn that some people will surprise you by holding space, connecting and allowing you to just be. These people will feed and nurture your soul back to life.
You will feel overwhelmed by kindness and love that others surround you in- people you would never even expect to.
You are truly able to connect and support and empathize with others experiencing grief and loss.
You stop judging people.
You love harder.
You grow into your new skin and recognize your own growth.
You laugh at yourself and realize life isn’t so serious.
You give less fucks and have a good, no a fucking great time.
These are some of the things that I have learned. Do you have any to add?