I choose to believe that everyone has the best of intentions, but this sentiment makes me want to scream. There is no time limit on grief. In fact the only guarantee that comes with grief is that it will be with you forever. And moving on? Nope. Never. I am choosing to move forward on my own schedule and at my own pace, but I will never move on.
I don't have to explain this to you. If you are reading this, you have heard all the cliches and aggravating myths and advice. So what do you do when these heartless things are said to you?
We have the power to choose how we respond to anything-good or bad, kind or hurtful. The old me would have barked a very harsh response and I'm embarrassed to say I've bitten a few people's heads off on this journey.
But the reality is our society just doesn't know better.
Until you are faced with child loss and a grief this intense, you have absolutely NO IDEA what it's like. Until my dear daughter died, I had no idea either. I said my share of heartless and careless things to grieving people. I know I did. I also know I didn't mean to be so obtuse and insensitive. I never intended to hurt anyone. I was just ignorant to their grief and all that went with it.
We can stew about this, complain, and rage about it. It doesn't change the fact that the person who said it just doesn't understand. So why not use this as a teaching moment. Kindly and softly, share with this person that you understand their concern but you are doing the very best you can. Your healing is on your schedule, not theirs, and you are learning to carry your grief because you will carry it forever. Grief is love and we grieve because we loved. Since you will love your child forever, you will also grieve forever, too.
It can be awfully hard to have this conversation with people, but if we don't, the ignorance remains.
Choose to share your feelings in a way that can be helpful. No one knows this journey but those who travel the path of grief. We need to change the way society acts and reacts to grief and they will never know until we tell them.
Everything comes with good intentions, even if the execution is hurtful.
Find the good, see the good, and teach the good. Help others help you by being open to conversations that enlighten and educate.
If you have a copy of my book Journey to HEALING: A Mother's Guide to Navigating Child Loss, share Appendix A with your loved ones or anyone who is struggling to support you. There are some great tips to help people say and do the right things while avoiding the hurtful stuff.
And, if you haven't liked my Facebook group, stop by and see what's going on: www.Facebook.com/LisaKBoehmSupport