#22 Am I too hard to be with when I grieve?
The gift of being with people who can allow you to grieve.
Dear Lovely You,
this is a letter about grief.
The freedom of grief.
The grace of grief.
The gift of being with people who can allow you to grieve.
I couldn't let the tears out. I welled up then blinked them away. My friend could see it but has only just told me all these years later. She had driven up from Devon to see me after the funeral of my son Luke. We met in town because it was half way between my house and her mum’s where she had left her children. That’s why she couldn’t come to the funeral. The children too young. Too far. Too much. I understood.
I was afraid I would frighten people away if I kept crying. I was the strong one after all. That's how I believed I was perceived. I thought it would be too hard for people to be with me like that. I hadn't even been able to cry six days after my son's death, when my brother flew back from Japan and came straight to my house. He had come all that way and I didn’t want to frighten him off with my fierce tears.
I didn't want to frighten people off. I just wanted to be with them. I was so happy to be with them and that they cared. I needed to lap up their love. So I hid my tears so I didn’t frighten them away.
Now my friend stood in the kitchen doorway. We talked about this and other things, my friend and I. I opened up - or at least started to. Started to let down my armour and show her who I really am. This friend whom I've known since school. And it felt good. So good. We didn't sit down and have a cuppa because she had to get back. But still we talked for almost an hour.
I welled up and she apologised.
Apologised for freeing me up enough to feel and express it!
To be able to do that without fear of judgement or rejection.
It was a gift. A gift she gave me because I want to talk about it. I want them to still be a part of my life.
You're not making me angry. I cry because I feel. I feel it. I feel the loss of two of the most beautiful people from my life and I want to talk about them and it. The grief.
I want to bring them back into my life. To remember. To re-remember. To show you what they meant to me. And for you to not be frightened by my tears or my anger, my fears, my sadness.
But just to allow me the grace to express what I feel.
Now and always. Now and always.
Will you indulge me?
Will you allow me the freedom of expression?
Will you allow me to be the vulnerable human that I am?
Tender. Soft. Compassion.
A puddle on the floor?
That doesn't know?
That can do nothing except cry or rant, holler or sometimes sing?
Will you allow me that?
Will you hold me without touching because touching can also suppress it? And I have had enough of suppressing it.
Let it out!
Let it ROAR!!!!!!
I need space, you see, to grieve. I need to feel it come through me. I need to forget you're there and know you’re there and that you might be worrying.
But not to worry about you worrying. Not have to reassure you.
But what if you can't cope with my breakdown? Because that's how it looks to you from the outside.
Yet to me it is a
A breaking open.
And be accepted.
I just want to be accepted.
Can you cope?
Are you strong enough?
I have doubted it until now. Doubted that other humans, friends, family had the strength to witness my great grief. I had to be the strong one. That's how it's always been. Just because my son and my brother are gone doesn't mean I could allow myself to be held for too long by those around me.
They might not be as strong as me. I know it sounds arrogant. But that's how I've survived. By being strong, reliable and dependable. I know I’m strong. Are they?
I can't be dependable if I'm a puddle on the floor. A mess. Incoherent. Unable to function.
So, I function and continue to function on the outside while my inner self crumbles bit by bit. I put on my mask. Smile. Say I'm OK. I go through the motions of helping others without feeling it. I have nothing to give really. It's just the outer shell you see.
Can I show you my emotions?
You see the grief never goes away. It softens. It mellows. Then sometimes it comes back hard and unyielding but not for long now.
How many more people are walking around with grief in their hearts, afraid to admit it? Perhaps they were afraid ever to grieve deeply and allow themselves the grace to be.
Grief reminds us who we are and what we are.
Grief reminds us of the preciousness of life and of what’s really important.
Grief is a leveler.
Death and/or loss is something we are all going to experience at some point.
Grief and death and loss are gifts that show us how much we love and the power of that love.
But doing it alone is lonely. Yes we need some time alone AND we need to grieve in community. Not shove it under the table. Not be fearful about talking about it.
Bring those loved ones back into our lives. Let their spirit light us up as we remember our love for them. Tell each other stories of how funny, naughty, frustrating they were and laugh about it anyway. Because what does it matter?
What does it matter what they did, the mistakes they made if they didn’t hurt anyone else?
What matters is that we loved.
Yes that is attachment. We’re told that enlightened people aren’t attached.
Well I would rather be attached. I would rather love. I would rather love and be loved and endure the pain of loss than never experience the love and community I have experienced. That I do experience.
I am human.
I am human and whole and loveable because of it.
I am weak and strong.
I am sad and happy.
I am depressed and joyful.
I am kind and mean.
I am bound up with unexpressed energy bursting to be seen!
No more hiding.
No more analysing or over-thinking.
Until I forget and have to remember and re-remember again
I am so grateful to my friend for allowing me the grace of space to express my true feelings and thoughts.
I am grateful to you for reading about it here.
From my True Self to Yours
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