The Only Grief I Own Is My Own

GriefI lost people close to me before I lost my husband. I’ve lost close friends. I’ve lost grandparents. I’ve lost friends so dear to me I thought my world had stopped. But until now, I didn’t know what it was like to have other people look to me to be the person responsible for their grief, the person responsible for doling out pieces of another person for them to hold onto, the person controlling access to their love for him, their memories of him, their unresolved issues or regrets.

The problem with looking to someone else--the widow, the parent, the sibling, whomever--of the person you’re grieving for, is that they can’t facilitate your grief because that person is grieving, too.

It’s normal to feel angry and want to blame someone or lash out, but directing that anger and blame at the people who loved the person you lost isn’t going to bring that person back and it’s just going to damage the relationships you have left with the living. It isn’t going to make you feel better. It isn’t going to help you heal. It isn’t honoring the memory of your loved one to attack each other.

I feel safe in saying that relying on a widow to do anything short of wake up each day is insane. I can’t remember if I shampooed my hair on the rare occasion I remember to shower. I go where people take me. Any appointments are made for me by the people who need me to sign the papers, and they come to me, for the most part. I only know what day of the week it is if I check my phone and I don’t remember five minutes after I look. To say I am in a fog would be an understatement.

My priorities are narrow in focus and animal in nature. I need to keep a roof over my family’s head, keep my children and myself fed and clothed in some fashion, and make sure the three of us are safe. Anything beyond that is icing on the cake right now and most of it is being provided by people who accept us as we are, fog and all, warts and all, unshampooed hair and all.