Grief: n. noun; 1. keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss; sharp sorrow; painful regret. 2. a cause or occasion of keen distress or sorrow.
Loss: n. noun; 1. The fact or process of losing something or someone. 2. The state or feeling of grief when deprived of something or someone of value. 3. A person or thing that is badly missed when lost.
My own definition: Grief: 1. something that can sneak up on you anywhere, at anytime from anything and has the power to hit you like a Mac Truck going 1000 miles an hour.
Grief is a strange thing, and the things we can do to ride the waves can be even stranger to anyone not experiencing our particular grief. The two definitions I gave don’t say a single thing about time limits or how people should react to each, but it astounds me sometimes how people who’ve never been through it will interpret each one. It also blows me away how people will unintentionally give values to that which was lost, even though those same definitions don’t state that the person or thing of value that was lost must have any particular value to anyone else.
6 years ago, at 12:10 a.m., I said “Goodbye for now” to my son, Christopher Scott. He was 15 weeks along when he passed, though I didn’t find out until I went to an appointment at 19 weeks. Initially, everyone gave their condolences and was there for my husband and I, but -like most people who’ve never encountered this situation themselves- they gave our grief a timeline and a value. I was told things like,”He’s happy and whole in Heaven now” and “At least it happened before you got a chance to get to know him” and-
Actually, no. Let’s stop at that one for a moment, shall we?
Have you ever been pregnant? Even if it was a surprise pregnancy, tell me that you didn’t envision his or her future. Tell me you didn’t talk to him or her. Tell me- if you have other kids- that you didn’t wonder what features they would all share and picture them all playing together.
You KNEW them. You knew that at a certain time every single day you’d get sick, and you’d joke that your little bean was already putting you through the ringer and promise them that you’d pay them back. You knew every poke and prod and eventually could pinpoint what part of their body was working to break your rib. You knew when their witching hour was and wondered if it would be the same once they were born.
You KNEW them.
I knew my son. I knew he’d probably look just like his 2 older brothers and that they’d probably all be wrestling before he was even walking. I had plans for him. I pictured his future. So, tell me again- how was I lucky?
See, here’s where I take issue with everyone’s opinions. Those that haven’t been in my place- or your place, or anyone’s place that has lost someone. They think I should conform to those opinions and they make comments that either make me feel foolish or bad about my own feelings.
Its been 6 years. Ya know what? It still hurts and causes my heart to break all over again sometimes. I think about our family dynamic and how he would’ve changed it; how they all would’ve gotten along. Ya know what else? In neither of those definitions did they give a time frame. If you look up the 5 stages of grief, you’ll see: Denial/Isolation, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance. Do you know what it DOESN’T say? How long someone will experience each stage. Or what order. Or if one of the stages will be skipped. Or the fact that even once someone has finally reached the “Acceptance” stage, that a song might come on or a certain date will come ’round that sends them right back into the isolation or anger stage. Or that, years later, they’re still bargaining even though their loved one is long gone- “If I could just have one more minute with him again- just one- I promise…”
Its been 6 years. I still can’t listen to ‘London’ by Brandon Heath without remembering that I had been singing that song to him the day before I found out he’d actually passed 4 weeks prior.
Its been 6 years, but some days it feels like yesterday.
Its been 6 years, but please don’t tell me -even now- that everything happens for a reason, because I still don’t see it and I likely won’t until the day that him and I are reunited in Heaven.
Its been 6 years. I’ve been through every single stage of grief multiple times over. I’m sorry my grief doesn’t fit YOUR specifications.