Caregivers often silently carry around with them the constant, heavy feeling of grief. Sometimes ashamed of it, we may hide it from others. Burying it as deeply as possible in the hopes that no one else will see. Your grief can feel like a nagging and confusing failure, compounding the sorrow inside of you, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
You are doing the best you can with the information you have available to you. Cut yourself some slack.
Just because the casseroles stop showing up at your door or most everyone has forgotten or doesn’t truly understand, does not mean that you also must move on from it. The absence of others is not an indication of the timeframe in which you are allowed to grieve. This is your life, everyday, and moving on from some of your circumstances may not be an option. Control the things about your situation that you can. Your perspective on your feelings may be one of the ways to help you, as it has for me.
Julie Keon writes about grief from a different perspective, about embracing it and learning from it.
I have found, in fact, that I am capable of feeling both immense joy and extreme grief simultaneously. After reading Julie’s thoughts on grief, it is far less confusing and more therapeutic.
There is beauty in the complexity, even if it is indescribable to anyone else.
There is beauty in you.
“Grief can be our silent companion, something to be tended and nurtured. Think of grief as a person knocking on your door who really wants to see you. They knock incessantly… When the knocking starts, instead of hiding, you can take a deep breath and welcome this person into your home… You set a few reasonable boundaries as to how much time you have to give and then you put the kettle on. You settle in for some hot tea and conversation. As the visit progresses, you notice it isn’t as bad as you thought it would be. You are discovering that this person you had always hidden from is wise and has much to offer.”
Julie Keon, June 29, 2011
I sensed someone watching me as I comforted my daughter after a particularly traumatizing dentist appointment at the Children’s Hospital. I looked up and saw you staring at us from across the waiting lounge. I didn’t pay much attention, as I have grown accustomed to the curious eyes of onlookers. Our daughter was born 7 ½ years ago and after an abrupt lack of oxygen at birth, she changed the course of our lives forever. Perhaps, our lives unfolded exactly as they were meant to — they just didn’t unfold in the way we had imagined or planned.
I talked to my daughter, kissed her and hugged her. I was giving her a brief break before putting her through the next traumatic experience of the day ~ the car ride home. Having cerebral palsy is the least of her worries but this condition can turn a car seat into a torture chamber.
I stood up to gather our things, my daughter in my arms, and it was then that I noticed you were holding an infant. It was difficult to know for certain how old she was. I knew immediately, though, that you were one of us. I knew that only recently your life had changed drastically and you sat here in this Children’s Hospital wondering, “How did we get here?” I should have recognized that shocked stare because I once had it, too. And I assume that the man sitting next to you, looking equally tired and shocked, was your husband.
I made my way toward the doors and as I passed you, our eyes met and I smiled at you. You smiled back and for a moment I knew that you knew that I understood.
If I could, I would tell you although you might not believe it right now, you will be okay. I would tell you to dig deep within yourself because you will find the strength and resilience somehow and it will surprise you. I would tell you to honour your feelings and let the tears flow when they need to. You will need the energy for more important things than holding in emotions.
I would tell you that the man sitting next to you…[Read the full post by Julie by clicking here]