Donna Strickland Blog

Some Thoughts on Grief

Mother’s Day Just Passed and I guess my need to say a few things about grief is related to just that.

Parents in Love

It’s a funny thing, but when tragic things happen to you, people sometimes say the strangest things.  Both my parents died, my 52yo brother-in-law died and I got divorced.  It all happened within 3 years of one another.  I was flooded with grief that was so deep I was afraid I might drown.  Mostly, in the beginning especially, I was grateful that anyone acknowledged my loss, no matter what strange words came out of their mouths.  I knew they were trying to connect.

But, at some point, 5 or 6 months in, when the shock and numbness wore off and when I could no longer be distracted by the “business” of death as the Executor of the Will, the pain became more intense & Reality was making its way in. My tolerance lessened for the strange things people said.  “Oh, are you still grieving?”…”Look on the bright side, your dad was probably unaware that he was burned so badly”  or “At least you still have your sister” (even though you’ve lost your mother, father brother-in-law and partner of 20 years).   I wanted to slug them or say something “ugly” (as we say in the south),  Come on, really?  You think I should be over it by now?  You have no idea….I’m living in a nightmare.

I made friends with my suffering. I felt connected to all those who had walked this path before me.  I felt connected to humanity in a new way,

A few years have passed now, and the ache for my loved ones ebbs and flows.  I was fine this pass Mother’s Day.  I enjoyed every minute I spent with my daughters.  So aware that this time is so very precious.

And, here I am, two days after Mother’s Day, my daughter’s are sleeping.  I can hear their sweet slow breathing as I sit here and write.  Thoughts of my parents bubble up with hot tears streaming down my face.  My parent’s deaths, along with the divorce, cracked open my heart in such a way that I will never be the same.  It also opened my heart and soul to the sweetest outpouring of gratitude and love that I feel for my daughters.  I so enjoy them.  I am amazed at how much I love them, at my willingness to do whatever it takes so that they can have me here for as long as possible.

I’m also amazed how Grief doesn’t go away.  It changes.

It changes everything.

What has grief done for you?  I’d love to hear your stories.

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