Don't grieve alone; 14,000 members and growing
Today I had to respond to several emails and repeatedly write down that my mother is dead. Finding it very hard to keep writing the words, so hard that it took several days of tearful effort to complete the three most pressing responses. Finally got them done. I just miss my mother so much. I hate picking up the phone now because some part of me still expects her voice at the other end of the line. I feel wounded by family and friends who are grieving so differently from me, who are keen to go to the movies, watch tv sports, design fancy birthday cards and attend birthday parties etc., all within hours, days and weeks of her death. Of course these are the family and friends who were unwilling to be there for my mother before, so I guess this should not be a surprise, yet I keep feeling shocked. Intellectually I know and want to accept that people experience bereavement in their own unique ways and also in their own time, but it is painful to witness their laughter and their apparent commitment to swiftly moving on. Two family members went on vacation within weeks of our mother's death -- what I don't understand is why they still wanted to, how they could bear it. For me that would be a horrible punishment.
Find myself wishing that we lived in a time when it was okay to mourn, to wear black, to be allowed to be sad about loss. My husband died very suddenly two years ago and it has been a struggle ever since -- I must support the people, especially family, around me, and not refuse to be a part of their lives, but the enforced cheer and busy activity is painful to me. Right after my husband's death my father started complaining about my clothes, saying that he wanted me to dress more colourfully -- it seemed that he had no idea that I didn't really want to dress up and wear eye catching colours and styles. Or maybe he did sense it and felt it was unhealthy. Now I am flying back again to be with my father -- my parents' home is in a different country -- there was a lot of pressure to return quickly to make sure he wasn't left alone, so I've only been home a couple of weeks, and my father has let me know that he is determined that we attend a social event together as soon as I touch down, followed by dinner out with my brother and his girlfriend. Dreading all of it, and if he is ready for so much gaiety and distraction, why am I going at all? Yet of course it is important for him to be with friends and remain connected, and certainly I don't want to undermine that. My own desire to grieve and be alone is not ideal and I can see that it probably already is damaging.
Just got a call from my father -- he was apologizing because the social event he was so excited about is actually happening the day before I arrive, so he'll be going on his own. Ironic that he thinks I will be upset to miss out. This shows me that a lot of my upset was selfish, was about how hard attending would be on me. Clearly my father is looking forward to social events less than a month after my mother's death, but I can see that I'm much less worked up about what that means now that I am off the hook. Guess it's no great revelation that my grief is selfish. Selfishness is not exactly a rarity.