Grief is Taboo

Even though the sadness, I see the beauty. Nothing will ever be as it once was as what was known means something different now. Everything turned upside down and became a world of contradictions. Opposites. Ying became Yang. What was once held as true became false, blue became red. That is the confusion of the world where we live. I was told I have a darkness in me and it is horrible and evil. We all have a darkness. When death comes to call, that darkness overpowers the light. It is neither evil nor horrible but perceived as such because of the changes it brings. Those who knew us in the before find they don't know us in the after. I think it is because the change is so instant, they think it is just grief and we will come back to ourselves in a short amount of time. This is us now, but all the explanations and talking in world will not help them understand that. Just as we cannot accept the loss of our loved one, they cannot accept the loss of us. Death comes in many forms and sizes for the living as well.

Darkness of the soul is not necessarily a bad thing. It's always been there in equal measures with the light. When we suffer deep grief the meter changes, equal no longer applies. How could it? We have entered the most soul searing pain that no one can comprehend. It brings us to the biggest struggle we have ever faced. The struggle to live, or die. It is a fine edge that tips over every now and then taking what balance we have left with it. The fierceness of the battle matches all the other emotions we have that are over the top. Over the top has become our middle name. We have become strangers to ourselves, to those who knew us. Each day is a day of learning who we are for what once didn't matter much has become too important and what was important has become minor. Is it any wonder we are an emotional mess? It's like the world divided into the grievers and the normals. One does not understand the other for we speak a different language.

When I was a very small child, my mother's best friend died. It was not unexpected but one is never prepared for another's death. At the service I heard one woman whispering to her companion that it was probably for the best, the deceased was never the same again after the loss of her child. As a child, this statement horrified me. It told me that it is best that you die if someone you love dies because you are not the same person you were before. Now, I know better. When I remembered these words it came to me that the woman who died was very misunderstood. Because the death of her child had changed her, her friends in their own way, did not want to know her. They did not take the time to find out who she had become. That is the tragedy. Suddenly you are not worth knowing if you are grieving. There was no support system back then and many had to wear a mask just to survive in the normal world. This outdated notion still exists to this day. Many of them do even with the ability to gain knowledge at our fingertips. Grief stays a taboo subject.

Recently I was told by a twenty-something that she had lost five friends over the last year or so and she moved on with her life because that was the healthy thing to do. My first instinct was to slice and dice with my tongue. I didn't. I said very little for do so would only bring me down to whatever level she lived at. There are many that you just can't get through too about what grief really is because they honestly do not want to know. They want to live in that bubble safe world. I left her to her illusions and pitied her that some day, those words would come back to haunt her. To her, grief is all the same and you get over it. Sigh. It's a cruel world honey.

I imagine there's a handbook out there somewhere that has instructions on how to treat the grief-stricken. Unless one is the grief-stricken I doubt many would read it. Some of the things that should be in it is this: Instead of condemning the one who grieves for changing, get to know who they are becoming or have become. Accept that your friend or relative is not going to be the same person you want them to be. Know that what seems wrong or odd to you is not the same to them. This is their life, not yours, quit telling them what to do, how to live, how to grieve. If you can't be a shoulder to cry on, if you can't accept them for who they are becoming, don't go at them and tell them everything you think is wrong with them. If you can't be kind it is best to remain silent. Your actions and words at a time of deep sorrow can make or break any relationship you have with the bereaved and it could be a permanent loss instead of a temporary break. We, the bereaved, will protect ourselves. We have been hurt enough. Don't keep grief taboo, get to know us instead. 

About the Author

 My son, Tim, passed on January 5th 2014 at the age of 34. He chose to end his life. So many things happened to bring him to that point. Believe it or not, I understand why. No matter how our child died, that is the keyword 'our child.' I wish you all gentle days and nights as you walk your path. Barbara, 'Forever Mom.'

I'm Grieving, Now What?