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Posts tagged ‘family’

Yes, I’m still sad. Why is that your problem?


Outward grieving makes other people uncomfortable

I think the reason so many people give us, the (still) grieving “helpful” but (unintentionally)hurtful advice to move on, focus outward, suck it up, or otherwise “get over it” is because OUR GRIEVING MAKES THEM UNCOMFORTABLE

Dad Dec10smallMom Dec10small

.It may be because they love us and don’t want to see us hurt and suffering, and they simply want to make it better. Most men have an incurable fix-it mentality (remember “Men are from Mars”?). Grief is the ultimate state of “broken.” My sweet husband also lost his mother to cancer 10 years ago. He knows the pain I feel, I think.My father died suddenly a year ago, on December 1. He had pulmonary fibrosis, an incurable wasting disease that slowly robs the body of the ability to absorb oxygen. He likely had an embolism or aneurysm, because he simply collapsed and died in a few minutes. Mom succumbed 3 months later to the breast cancer that had recurred, metastasized in her bones. This is my first Christmas without both of them, the first anniversary of Daddy’s death, my first birthday as an orphan.

Being Orphaned at any Age Redefines you as a Person

Becoming an orphan at any age redefines you. I’m in my 50s, but I still relied on my parents for advice, confirmation, support and love. I talked to them daily. Every time I see a flower, work my garden, smell cookies, eat a banana, have an argument or look in the mirror, I miss them. I reach for the phone to call them before I realize they are dead and the grieving pops up again.

Don’t Tell Me How to Feel

Yesterday’ holiday party at work caused the background simmering of sadness to rise to the surface. Well-meaning coworkers who thought they had the right to say so told me it was time for me to “remember my parents through celebration.” When I told them it was too soon, that the anniversary effect was weighing heavily on me, and I had a RIGHT TO BE SAD….MomDadMGDancesmall

On person suggested that I was persisting in my grief because I never had children (and now grandchildren) to distract me…yet another source of sadness for me after 12 miscarriages.

Another person got angry with me.

We All Walk along Grief’s Path, but Differently

Grief is universal. At some point everyone will experience it. Grief is unique. It’s different for everyone. We all have to walk a different path, and not everyone will reach a happy place, unfortunately. We don’t have to walk alone. Some walk with families, friends or lovers to hold them, dry their tears or comfort them. Others walk with their God or their spirit guide.

I walk with Angels , my cats, and my lovely, sweet husband. I know it’s a long, long journey, and sometimes I have to retrace my steps. Sometimes I take a turn and find myself back where I started. The end won’t be the one I planned, but it will be interesting along the way.


Pssst….Got a bully?

EPILOGUE:  Since I posted this, on March 25, 2012, our sweet, tiny, and beloved mother died of a long struggle with breast cancer.  I don’t think we’ll ever quite bury the bacon fork (subject for another post) but my sister and I have reached a stage through our grief where a few things just don’t seem quite as important as they used to.  Other things, such as forgiving each other for things large and small, real and imagined, become very important in the grand pageant.  If she reads this blog, I hope she forgives me.


Do you have your bully with you this morning?  Mine is sitting in my gut, curdling the cream in my coffee, and periodically tensing the trapesius muscles along my shoulders (my favorite stress indicator).  My bully made me cry myself to sleep last night.

I don’t know if my theories on bullies are borne out by scientific study, and, frankly, am too tired this morning to do the research.  My theories are based on personal observation.

Bully:  a person of low self-esteem who gains self-worth by berating, abusing or physically assaulting weaker, younger or smaller individuals.

I don’t believe, as some do, that all bullies fall into the typical “abuse begets abuse” pattern.  I believe it all comes down to an issue of comparative self worth.  A bully is someone who seeks to improve their own self worth by denigrating the self worth of someone else.  You see, there’s where I contradict myself, because a bully can create other bullies.  The victim of bullying can become a bully.

My own particular bully is an older sibling.  Since I was too young to comprehend or be present, I can only speculate on her formation, but I think parental berating along the lines of “why can’t you be smart like your younger sister” led her to begin verbally and physically assaulting me from the time we were pre-teens.  I’m certain she has always resented my arrival 3 years into her existence as the darling only granddaughter/only child.  I was cute, precocious and a little sister with whom she had to share EVERYTHING, including the affections and attentions of her parents.  What 3-year-old is equipped to deal with that?

As we grew, she became rebellious and challenged every constraint and rule and struggled in school subjects.  I obeyed, learned from her negative examples, excelled at school, earned every badge at Girl Scouts and was the “good girl” in every respect.  I bet it rankled her like hell on a hot Sunday.

Well every family has sibling rivalries, and being punched by your older sister on a regular basis (and threatened with more punching if you told on her) is nothing unique.  I survived it, and learned some valuable lessons along the way.  This stuff hardly qualifies for the book-of-the-month club.  I’ve managed a pretty good life:  I graduated college, progressed through several high-paying careers and married two (consecutively) good men.

Yeah, well, that feeds the bully.  By succeeding, by having financial success particularly (and by making the parents proud) I lower her self-esteem by comparison.  As long as I am away from home, safely 1000 miles removed, we can “love” each other over the phone.    When I visit home, the physical proximity and  inevitable comparisons apparently eat at her.  The verbal assault begins.  First it’s the shushing whenever I speak, even in a normal conversational tone.  Then she starts to censor my speech.  No relating stories about the past, especially if it is to share a funny story with a younger family member  (it might reflect badly on her).  Practically no subject is safe, in fact, so within a few minutes I’m left speechless.

Oh, yes, I let the bully win.  Why?  Stay tuned.



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