Posted by: Ingrid | October 23, 2007

Convoluted, but on my mind

I am beginning to think that some of the courage of grief, any kind of grief, is giving yourself permission to feel it through. Regardless of what people think. Regardless of how long its been since the event occurred. If you didn’t deal with it the first time, if you masked it or had to take care of other people, or didn’t really grieve for whatever reason, it’s not going to go away until you do. Perhaps “go away” is the wrong way of putting it. That’s not what I mean. I will always miss my mom. That’s not going to go away or disappear. There will always be things that remind me of her and that draw my attention to the fact that I missed out on years of relationship that other people will have with their moms. But I think the feeling of it will change. It has to. It seems that if healthy love grows and changes, healthy grief should do the same. By grief I don’t mean self-pity or dramatics that ape true grief. I’m talking about the form that love takes when the object is removed. When we strip the matter down to the core we grieve because we loved.

You can’t expect anyone else to grieve for you. You may expect people to grieve with you, and those expectations may or may not be fulfilled. You will probably find that while people can get excited for you about something that they don’t fully understand, grief feels lonely and people never quite feel the timbre of your sorrow and the depth of the loss. You may feel misunderstood, not cared about, lonely, almost as if in losing one person or thing you managed to lose everyone around you in the process. You cannot exact anything from anyone else that can make the loss better. Looking out at the people around you, demanding and wanting the elusive indescribable something from someone is not going to help make up for your loss or help you grieve it any better.

I realized in an encounter over the weekend that people who don’t grow and move through their grief have a marked inability to be there well for other people.  I see this in others, I can see this in myself.  I want my grief to grow into an entry point to other people’s grief and pain. I want it to be something I understand other people through, an opening, not a brick wall that comes up every time in the middle of someone else’s pain. I do not want a continual resurrection of loss not dealt with that brings everything back to “my pain, my grief, my hurt.”




  1. I have had this post as a “sticky” in my bloglines since you first posted it, and periodically I will read all the way through it again and catch a different aspect of your reflection that encourages me or challenges me.

    Today I comment because your statement that grief is the form that love takes when the object is removed struck me as I have been feeling petty for grieving in a particular area. But seeing that as proof that I loved in that area is a comfort and helps give me “permission” to grieve.

    Anyway, I just finally thought I should comment on this post that has been with me for so many months.

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