Life itself is an interesting journey. The beliefs you have for yourself, about yourself, and who you are can change so much from grief. I have read through some of my old blogs and am so perplexed on some of my hangups. Some of my grief about being a single woman, about being a vegan, about being divorced. I never really understood who I was. My idea was so self limiting. I never truly understood my grief or allowed it to be with me. I just wanted it to end. No more suffering, no more grief just a picture perfect happy life......
I took a huge risk this last year and took a job doing family care meetings in oncology and critical care. I truly did not know what that would look like but I leaped. Quickly I realized how I really knew nothing about grief. I understood some of its principles but I truly did not know how to anticipate what my patients and families may be going through.
My role has taught me so much. Grief is not singular, it is fluid. Its learning something is coming you did not anticipate for your life. Its scary. It can linger with you as you survive your fears. It can change your very essence.
In our culture we don't truly allow for grief to have a face. We must fix something and move on. We can be sad for a moment, but we must not dare dwell on this. After all... everything works itself out, right? After this past year I don't believe we must move away from it. Its not as horrid, grief is a living and breathing thing. It should be allowed to transform, and we as human beings should be allowed to sit with it and experience what our grief means for us
Death. Death happens to us all. How it happens and when it happens can impact a persons soul. This level of grief is something different for each of us. Are we the ones dying? Letting our life go, who we are and accepting we don't truly have any more time can be horrifying. For some it can be an end to pain, no more suffering of our earthly bound bodies. Some death is expected. We often expect our grand parents to die and those older than us. Their loss is not with out pain, but often the blow is softened by the life long belief that those older than us die before us. Some death is unexpected and feels as though it is breaking lifes' rules. The loss of a child is one example.
What is loss in a world full of pain. Bombings, shootings, murders.. horrendous acts of violence from mankind toward mankind. Its hard to accept. I read people saying this is our new world, our normal. Hurting others has always been part of the world.. dividing, conquering... isn't a new normal. it the new normal, I hope pain never becomes normal. I hope no person has to experience tragedy of any form. We say this is part of life. Part of sin. I just have to ask why? Why do we have to accept this? Can we not take a stand, and say this is completely unacceptable? Loss of life, of our loved ones is an immense burden.
My family recently lost the life of one of our most vivacious of souls. My sweet nephew Tannan left our Earth a month this last February. Tragedy. Unexpected. No violence. No weapon. No person to blame. He was so healthy. He was here one moment and gone the next. Life stopped for us all. His parents so full of ache, my soul so full of sorrow. As expected his loss has been incredibly difficult for my sister My beautiful... beaming... positive sister so full of tears as of late. The sudden loss of a my sweet nephew Tannan, was so unexpected it has changed my family forever.
He was only 8. When I was told he was gone I was so terrified.
Here I was a professional who worked with those who are dying every day. I help families prepare. Yet I am so unprepared. In the first few weeks following his loss I was so terrified. The drive to my sisters home the day he left, felt so long. I did not want to arrive. I did not want it to be real. But it was. It is. He is gone.
How can I be grateful for grief.... it is the reminder of who I am. Of who my Tannan was and who he is. He still lives on in my life every day. My daughter loves him dearly and often misses his presence. This kinds of grief allows me to miss him and be thankful I got to be part of his family. The person he is can not be expressed in words. I could never tell you exactly who Tannan is as a person, just like a picture can never capture someones full beauty. He is the grief I will wear. I will wear him proudly. I am so honored I was his aunt.
This loss, however has taken its toll. People engage you during new loss. They understand you may be sad, they understand you may be with drawn, and they want to help. But not for long. The next event comes along and your sorrow has all been forgotten. No one wants to hear that you are still grieving. They have moved on. So should you. The world is wrong, sometimes its ok to both move on and stay still. Give yourself permission.
My life changed. My families life has changed. We experience so much now. Tannans loss changed my sister, his mother. She has a difficult time allowing herself to be happy. She has moments of happiness I know. I see them, but she can't. She feels as though she should not be happy that this is a privilege she should have to live with out. She has laughter and tears. She doesn't yet understand she can have both. She can be in her sorrow and be in her joy. I pray she allows her self to be in both moments with out feeling the guilt of out living her son.
Through watching her, I understand now that its ok to have a multitude of emotions. That we must allow others to have mixed emotions and encourage others to express not just happy moments but those that haunt them. You must let yourself have the freedom to grow and be more one thing at a time. Life is not black and white. It is colorful. Life is so precious. Every moment. They say you only live once. This is true, and we never truly know when our last day on earth is. So live well. Allow your self to sit with your emotions. To let them fill you up and move you. Let them grow you. There is a reason you feel. I feel grief today as I play with Tannans older brother. I think he should be here. I don't stay in that sadness I let it turn to grief, I let it move me. I kiss my other nephew and tell him how much I love him and then I whisper to Tannan how much I love him as well.