Well, the 21st was awful again this month. Honestly, it starts on the 20th. What's it like? I'm just more weepy than usual. I take the time to think about the only day I got to spend with my son. I think about the details of that day, what he looked like, which makes me think about what he would look like. Etc, etc, etc. But, guess what? It's now the 22nd and I'm doing a lot better. Haven't cried once today!
Listen, people. Crying is part of the grieving process. When I feel like crying - I do! I don't try to bottle it up and hope it goes away. Recently, someone shared with me that their therapist instructed them (while healing from a divorce) to turn the radio station if a song makes you cry. Wow. What bad advice! In my humble opinion, each tear is bringing you closer to finding peace about your situation. You are facing your situation head on! You are allowing feelings to come and you are dealing with them when they arrive. THIS is healthy.
I think this month something has finally clicked with me: Only those who have been in my shoes are most helpful to me when I'm sad. I was told this (yes, warned of this) but I still kept expecting well-meaning friends and my close family to understand what I'm going through, say the right things, etc. And, you know what? If you're going through this too, just try to remember that THEY DO NOT understand. They just don't. They haven't been in our shoes, so there's no way they could understand. They will say the wrong thing. They will judge. They will offer advice that could not be more unhelpful. I mean, I'm telling myself this as much as I'm telling you.
I have been told since childhood that I am "tender hearted" and that I am "too easily offended." But, as a grieving mom, I know I'm not alone in this struggle. There are entire websites dedicated to telling others what to say and what not to say to grieving parents. It's difficult. We want you to ask about our loss. We want you to talk about our baby. This helps us know that you care, that you aren't going to act like our situation never happened. That our child was never born. And that he never died. But, what I'm saying is that more often than not, you will also probably offend us. Ha, that sounds so bad, but it's true!
Please ask me questions. Please feel secure in bringing up Gabe's name around me. But, remember that you aren't supposed to come up with the perfect phrase (cause there isn't one) and you're not supposed to fix a problem (cause there isn't one). We are grieving! We will probably cry! And, guess what? If you cried too, it would show us that you are at least trying to be empathetic and compassionate!
If you are a friend who has offered a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on, don't think this blog is directed at you. Know that there are lots of things said to me that touch my heart. Some examples: A new friend asks if she can "pay respects to Gabriel" since we weren't close yet at the time of his death, my sister wondering aloud what it would be like if Gabe was here on a lazy Sunday afternoon, and my mother-in-law telling me that she teared up when she spoke to students about Gabe.
Sorry if this seems like a rant, I guess I just needed to get it out and (as always) am hoping that it will help someone else in my shoes. Really this blog is written for two people: me - as a form of venting, and anyone else that comes to this website looking for help because they are in my situation. You can also rest assured that if you said something to me that I found hurtful, I probably already let you know. This grief thing has made me more assertive. I have to look out for me. Ok, I'm done. :)