Friday, February 24, 2017

The Supportive Friend

Well I was finally feeling back to my old self and I woke up congested and sounding like Darth Vader again. So if you call my office that is me answering the phone and not my boss Tim. 

Today I was once again reading posts from my loss group. A member had mentioned how she was encouraged by a friend to get over her grief. The friend informed her that others felt uncomfortable reaching out to her because the conversation always turned to the loss of her daughter. This in turn put the friends in an uncomfortable situation and they would rather not have to face that circumstance. My initial reaction was to squint, tilt my head to the side, and say, "What the holy hell?" I probably would have replied, " I am sorry that the loss of my child makes you feel so uncomfortable that you feel you cannot reach out to me." Then again if I step back from the situation and remove myself from the position of a grieving parent could I see the friends point? I guess in a way I could. Grief is complicated and uncomfortable and nothing anyone wants to deal with. The mom didn't want to lose her child and she is suffering horribly. I don't care if it's been 6 months, a year, or 20 years.....she is suffering and no one wants to watch anyone suffer. It's raw, it's nasty, and it's highly uncomfortable for people to see. Not everyone can handle watching someone grieve and not everyone can be a friend through a tragedy. That doesn't make them a bad person it just means they don't have the emotional strength to lend to someone for support. So it's up to grieving parents to decide who can help support them, who cannot, and maybe even those you have to cut ties with. I have always felt like God puts people in your life at particular times for a reason and sometimes he removes them too. That doesn't mean you cannot pick up years later when you have healed some it just means at that time period they are not the right fit in your life. 

I have noticed a trend with grieving parents I know on social media. We all tend to share pictures of our children as memories but rarely do people see the really ugly side of grieving. So I thought I would try to share a little about the raw honest facts surrounding how difficult it is to get through a loss. Grief is hard and physically taxing on your body which could be part of the explanation for this flu I cannot shake. Grief makes you forget things easily and it can sometimes change a persons entire personality. Everyone is different but for me grief feels like a horrible empty ulcer in the bottom of my stomach that hurts and aches. Eventually the ulcer began to feel a little better but it's always there and certain things can irritate that ulcer and make it flare up again with full intensity. Dealing with loss is secretly making your way to the room where you have your child's items stored in boxes. You start ripping open boxes and items just to see if you can catch their scent again then melting into a puddle of tears on the floor. Grieving is walking through a department store and seeing the children's section laced with adorable clothes and you fall apart right there in aisle 9.  Loss has a way of making you not care about what you look like or where you go but finding the strength to make it through the day. It's the knowledge that eclipse shadowing the sun moves away a bit each day that you do make it through. 

I can also say with certainty that grieving parents do not want to listen to the comparison of their grief to the loss of your pet, relationship, or job. Those are all tragic and horrible circumstances but while someone is grieving it's best to dump the negative somewhere else and only put in positive. It may sound selfish but a grieving parent does not have the capability of offering the emotional support I mentioned above. Eventually your grieving loved one will be able to support you and listen again but until that time comes please have patience. 

I am blessed because the majority of people in my life have been extremely supportive and understanding. I have lost a handful of people that couldn't take my posts of Jude's memories or the blog but they were really just acquaintances anyway. I always say I am a rare one. I came out of high school with some of the most amazing best friends a girl could have and I still have them. I also have an amazing family. So when I read that others do not have this support it makes me sad and compels me to write about my experience. I only hope it can help someone in need. 

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