In the past several months I have had the opportunity to field unintentionally, unkind commentary. Most likely the result of being in my third year of mourning. And though I could spell out for you the details of each encounter, I will spare the invocation of sympathy by not doing so. For truly it isn’t necessary for me to utilize this blog platform to rally my troops, not today anyway (no guarantee for future intent). The problematic formula, or root of the unintentionally unkind quips, is that they each imply that the lapse of time should be lessening the pain of loss. A practical concept in theory, though rooted not in the reality of the griever.
I do understand the foundation of the misunderstanding, for I smile a lot. I invest in people’s lives, a lot. I am warm toward others, forgiving toward others, caring toward others and interacting with others, a lot. A newbie to my world would never suspect I carry, in my soul, the burden I carry. I celebrate babies, I empathize with others, I congratulate achievements. In essence, I am continuing on. People in mourning, people who grieve, continue on. If they don’t, they themselves are not living.
So how, how does one get on with it? How do I? Aside from the foundation of faith…
- Live in the now. I pay the price, daily, of disregarding the weight of my sorrow. The cost comes in form of loss of memory. In order to survive, I have to shut out certain reflections. Shutting the doors to pain also shuts out good memories as well. My friends help fill in my gaps when needed.
- Gratitude. I start with my ugly feet, though dreadful to look at they are the work horses of my life. I am grateful for my feet, their support of my body and the abuse they endure as result of my love of impractical shoes. I expand the exercise further from there. Gratitude is a most superior, healing salve.
- Being present. Remembering that my loss is not the only loss on earth forces me to connect with family and friends with a reciprocal intention.
- Embracing imperfection. This one could be it’s own blog post! Mourning, suffering loss, grieving, etc., has caused a desensitization of sorts for me. I am no longer “ruffled” by the small injustices in life. Example: waiting in long lines in the supermarket or coffee shop because of incompetence either with the employee or the customer doesn’t faze me. In life “my story” is always upon me, always goes with me and impacts my threshold. My own loss has given me greater understanding that each of us could be navigating the daily tasks of life with a complication, a fact and consideration I impart to others. *except when driving–I’m a beast!
- Letting go of offense. This one probably falls under the umbrella of #4. But to give it its proper due, I’ll list it out. My motto is, “I don’t have time for offense.” I move through affronts quickly for my soul has no extra room to carry them.
And of course my #5 brings us back to my opening paragraph. Suffice to say that I suffer loss in constant, and the questions hurled my way that cause offense do not (and cannot) penetrate the pain already there. In truth those that ask a question or make a comment in ignorance are fortunate; they haven’t been touched by sorrow’s sting or the injustice of a life gone too soon. I applaud their blessing as I put on my “big girl pants” and enact rule #1.