Friday, August 14, 2009

grief isn't done in a month

This fast-paced life and instant-gratification of this modern world spills over to expectations and beliefs, not just in our 'doings'. When it comes to grief and loss, most people use the same lens of speed - expecting you to be over something, or done dealing with an upcoming loss.

It's been a month and a day. Appropriately so, Wife, although not Jewish, finally cut her hair. In shedding an entire layer of hair she shed another layer of grief. It's been a tough day for her (and me too) - some anger starting to bubble. Thank goodness we have a fence to finish (band out that anger in the nails holding the fence up). This whole 2 month drama-trauma loss of ours is peeling off in layers. First the drama-trauma of the badly behaved family is starting to come off. It's only when some of that starts falling to the way-side can the mourning really begin. The entire month in Vancouver (ok, 3 weeks for me), we were not safe to emote. We had our turtle shells on full. Their drama-trauma is not worth my time but everything from telling me to go home, to aggressive behaviour towards my Wife, to negating her as a mother happened. I'm still not over the verbal-violence I witnessed and was heaped on me and my loved ones (Wife and Step-son). We could not properly mourn when we were shielding ourselves from attacks left right and centre.

Now that some time has passed and we're in a safe zone/safe space we're starting to feel - and feelings bring grief. And yet, even though we are only just beginning, (some) people around us figure we should be over it (or at least out of the bad grief. We've been reading (mainly on loss of children) and what I've come to understand is that you never "get over" the loss of a child. It may get 'easier' but apparently it's still a matter of years before it gets to that "easier" stage.

Treya Wilber, in the memoir I read last month "Grace and Grit" also talked about how when she got sick and months later when she was still sick (she never got better), people expected her to be 'over it' (and talk about something else). People are there in the beginning, she says. and then when you can't answe "ok" to a "how are you" question a month or two following, people don't want to hear it anymore. People are like modern hospitals, good for quick fixes but not into the long-haul. Most people anyway.

I also know just how fortunate I am/we are to have wonderful people in our lives. When I say most people, I don't mean the ones in our lives. But I've also come to realize that if you're blessed with an amazing chosen family, you rarely also have a supportive blood family. That's the way it's been for us. We have amazing folk in our lives - our families, not so much. I think it take a 'community' to help/hold up a greiving person (just as it takes a village to raise a child).