I’m bad at blogging. I think about it. I quite like my little (War & Peace length) FB update statues. You is welcome. The central theme of these last 9 months has revolved around my dad, namely, his earthly departure. The expanse of my emotional depth goes from dolor to rage & every other emotion under the sun. A reoccurring notion has been I’d like to put my 2 cents in the bucket held out for the Great Unwashed. While it’s not sexy or fun, it’s imperative. Let’s talk about grief. Ladies choice.
Told you. Are you uncomfortable yet? Do you regret clicking on this link? Are you muttering, “Stephanie, Stephanie, Stephanie!” under your breath? Good, now I have your attention. It’s perfectly fine for you to recoil at this taboo topic. Perhaps your think flowers and funerals. Or weird memories of your great aunt Mary lying in a casket with a downturn smile because of an overzealous mortician. Still gives me the shakes. You had your warning. I gave you a chance to opt out. I’m a sold-out believer who knows discomfort is paramount in learning. Wise words that still bring a smile to my face, from a youth pastor many moons ago, “Start living or start dying.” – James Matchette
I spent the last 5 nights of my father’s life sleeping in the 3rd floor waiting room at Lutheran Hospital. These were my creature comforts. Hospital blankets with a scarf. A generous gift from a previous nanny family. Seemingly innocuous items to sustain me while the light was draining out of my father’s eyes just yards away.
It’s the little things that still take the air out of my lungs. It’s like a dagger through the heart. The question remains, how do we deal with grief? I don’t have an answer. But how we deal with it now is sorely lacking. I fully intend for Grief to be my topic of study for Grad school. What I offer instead is, a humble suggestion. I have been earlobe deep in research from renowned experts on shame, grief, loneliness, and isolation. The 4 Groomsman of the Grief Apocalypse. A humble suggestion purposing we do a little less talking and a lot more listening to those in the throes of their loss. Ranging from death, divorce, or amputation. Loss is loss. Sucks.
In my own walk down this long road, there is an overarching mantra of perceived ungratefulness. When I disclose I miss my father, typically it is retorted with,” Well, you have many nieces, nephews, siblings, and a mother, most people don’t have.” “Really?! Say what?! Get clear out of town. Still don’t have my dad. K bye.” Rude. Ticks me right off. The loss of my father does not mean I am not grateful for what I still have. It means, the loss of my father shattered my whole heart into a million-teensy weensy small bits. GO AWAY, jerk. Thankfully, my parents taught me to not say every little thing I think. Eh, they did the best they could with what they had. Bless.
“The loss of one does not replace the company of many.”- Unknown. Give whomever came up with that wisdom a big, fat, wet one from me. I’m 30 & single. Sigh. The most important male figure in my life, now resides at Six Mile Cemetery with an upturned face. Be gentle, please? Don’t tell me it’s ok. He isn’t suffering, or, wait for it, he wouldn’t want me to be sad. Let me be. Hug me. Pray for me. Tell me something funny he did. If you got nothing, a genuine smile does wonders for the soul.
Grief takes on many forms throughout life. The loss of my father was compounded by my parent’s house fire. Most things from my childhood didn’t survive, again the infuriating mantra was, “Be thankful your parents made it out alive. The rest is just stuff.” False. I am all for less crap & stuff, but childhood photos are not stuff. My old teddy bear was not just a thing. It’s a thing with value to me. Again, the loss was totally mitigated. It’s a special kind of hell to sit in the charred remains of your loved one’s house inventorying burnt remnants of a life.
The lack of knowledge about how to converse with the hurting is sorely lacking in society. I want to study it, write about it, and offer what insight I’ve had. It’s been a cool drink of water on a hot day to talk with others who say, “Me, too!” Others have also expressed the same sentiments in being the proverbial turd in the punch bowl. I want to expand the narrative. Include those in the fold who are divorced, widowed, or parent-less. The better we understand grief, the better we can sit who those eyeball deep in it. Baby steps. Pain will not be ignored. In my attempts to understand my own, I pray someday it will help others with theirs.