This will be a short post because I’m known to get up on my soapbox about this subject and I’m doing my best to reign myself in. Today I’m talking about the loneliness of grief.
Everybody’s got an opinion about who should grieve, how long they should grieve and what is the appropriate level of grief they should share with others, but I say, screw that! My grief is my grief, and nobody gets to tell me how to do it!
Everybody grieves alone and everybody’s journey through grief is individual. Even if you’re in a family who are all grieving for the same person, only you can know what your own personal feelings are towards the person you lost, and only you can understand the depth of your grief.
Now, before anybody jumps on a soapbox next to me, I’m not saying that you cannot grieve alongside someone and share aspects of your grief with them, you can! You can share memories, you can share tears, and you can share love.
What you can’t share is the ache in your heart, the tightness in your throat or the burn behind your eyes when you try desperately to hold back tears.
Nobody can feel your loss for you.
So why am I going on about this? Well, it’s pretty simple.
Despite my grief, I love being alive.
Despite my grief, I want to find love again.
Despite my grief, I’m a happy person.
Despite my grief, life goes on.
In the three years since Terry died, others have judged me for many reasons, most of it relating to how I show my grief.
They dubbed me The Happy Widow just a few weeks after my husband died because I dared to have fun in public.
I have been called strong and brave and courageous by people who didn’t know that I would curl up in my bed at night and stare at the wall for hours because I couldn’t sleep. Or that would shut myself in the bathroom just so I could breakdown for a few minutes when the world overwhelmed me.
I didn’t feel strong.
I didn’t feel brave.
I didn’t feel courageous.
I chose to grieve in private, and they judged me for it. Others grieve in public and they, too, are judged. Often these people are called: “attention seekers”, “hysterical” or “unhinged”. These labels are neither fair nor accurate.
Grief is lonely. There is no right way to grieve and there is no wrong way to grieve.
There is just grief.
* I’m stepping off the soapbox now.*
If you have ever felt judged by how you’ve expressed you grief or how you’ve hidden your grief, share your story in the comments. Have a rant if you must.
Till next time xx