Grief on a Timer

Anyone who has seen me on social media recently – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr – knows that I lost my darling little girl Sophie on January 30.

Grief is possibly the most uncomfortable emotional process in our society.

I say “process” deliberately because we would much rather treat it like a singular emotion, like sadness. It begins in different ways for different people, in different circumstances. My grief over Sophie has begun with deep, ragged, messy, jagged rips into the soul. Nothing pretty or nice or polite.

I had a different kind of education with grief when my father died in 2007. A book that helped so much at that time was Life is Goodbye, Life is Hello: Grieving Well Through All Kinds of Loss by Alla Renée Bozarth. I’ll be reading that book again. Soon. Just not immediately. I’ll also be reading Elaine Aron’s The Highly Sensitive Person again. Don’t laugh at that one folks. It has to do with how certain people process things. It has nothing to do with the typical social stigma so many associate with the “sensitive” label. Seems like life would be so much simpler if we were all robots or just didn’t judge each other on what we felt or how we felt it.

Oh, we’re so uncomfortable. We, I say, as in…not excluding me. We can barely let ourselves or others grieve because we want it to be over. The second something happens it’s like someone flips the switch on some infernal scale that asks you if are grieving appropriately for that circumstance and if so, are you still within the parameters of time in which the world will suffer you to show that you are still broken up. I say “suffer you” on purpose because of course it’s you who are suffering. It’s everyone else who is only uncomfortable.

How much devastation and time are you allowed if there’s a loss of a family member? A beloved pet? A close friend? A global tragedy? A war? A terrorist attack? A natural disaster? Why…someone please tell me why….why do we do this to each other?

I try to hold back my grief over Sophie in all its messiness while I am trying to get through each day with people who would like me to make this tragedy sad, polite, and appropriate for normal daily functioning. I can’t do that, but I can try to hold things together as much as I can. Still no one gets it and the more I scream when I have to (trying politely, of course), the more inappropriate I am. And inexplicably, they choose…at this moment in time…to add a myriad of new pressures and deadlines that are not even critical. The strain of holding it all inside and trying to push everything forward along outside will make me sick. It already has.

And my darling girl…all I know is that I miss her and that it hurts in a way that doesn’t play nicely with a neat package or a timer.

I wonder again why we can’t learn to grieve well. And to let others grieve well.

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