April 26, 2021
“How rude!” I thought, especially since I was a relatively new griever, just one year shy of my mom’s death anniversary.
I’d entered the therapy session, armed with a laundry list of complaints about how tired I felt. And rightfully so. Grief is exhausting. The work of grief adds a whole new level of fatigue.
My therapist (an “ex” simply related to our time drawing to a natural close) sat quietly, listening to my every grievance. She nodded at the right times, observed my body language, and skillfully probed to gain a better understanding of my pain. She knew me well, given our biweekly therapy sessions for nearly 9 months at that point. I secretly hated that she did, leaving me no masks to put on in the room or spaces to hide from my feelings.
She knew me well enough to give me room to share, then reel me back in to face harsh realities.
Throughout that first year of grieving, I felt enormous pressure to ‘act normal,’ as if life were the same as it was prior to my mom dying. Just three weeks after her death, I returned home and resumed my pre-death life. 12-hour work days. Church. Singing in a choir. Attending work-related and personal functions.
Unfortunately, nothing was the same.
I felt anger and resentment rooting in the deepest parts of me, related to the ways others responded to my grief.
They wanted me to keep going. Doing. Acting as if things were just fine. At every turn, I had a cheering squad applauding my tireless efforts to live a post-death life in a pre-death way. Frankly, I was over it. However, I didn’t know what else to do.
“Wait! I have a choice?” I responded.
In the midst of my grief fog, I’d forgotten that I had choices, the most important one being helping myself.
If so, it’s OK. Today, perhaps I’ll do for you what my ex-therapist did for me — that is, shake me into reality.
Friend, the five ‘stops’ aren’t easy, I know. Nevertheless, what would it look like for you to consider at least one?
Grief is layered and complex. Along the same lines, our responses to it are layered and complex. And I definitely don’t want to over-simplify the difficulties inherent in the process.
I do, however, encourage you to not over-complicate things either. Sometimes, we need the shake up. We need to be awakened to the reality that in the face of loss, we still live.
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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