Diagnosis: Heartache, Chronic. Ok?

Dear Friends,

One of the things I’m learning (slowly) is to be patient with myself, and forgiving. I’ve never really been terribly patient! I’m sure if my parents are reading this, they’re nodding along.

When it comes to grief, though, part of the “problem” that makes it difficult, is that there is no set of steps you follow, and there isn’t an “other side” to come out on. You don’t get to finish, check it off your list, and pat yourself on the back. I think our culture approaches grief like a scout badge: tick off the requirements, get the badge, and done! Never revisit it.

It doesn’t help much to think of it as something like asthma, either, though that’s a better analogy, since you don’t usually “get over” asthma. However, with asthma, you can take medications to get rid of most of the symptoms, and, if your case is mild, you can pretty much ignore it as long as you take your meds.

What if, instead, we think of it as something like losing a limb? I don’t personally have experience with that, but from what you hear, at first loosing a limb is a big deal. It hurts, it has to heal over, and you have to learn how to live without it. At first, you deal with thinking it’s there, then realizing it’s not. And as time progresses, you don’t “get better” – it doesn’t grow back, but you learn to live with your new way of being. You learn to do things around the house without that limb, and people you know learn what you are capable of and what you need help with, and learn to see you that way.

It’s not perfect, because that is physical and visible. But at least, if it is like what I described, then grief is similar. I have had to learn who I am, both without Charlie, and with this feeling of loss, sadness, and new way of approaching life. I’m more anxious, more easily upset, and less sure of myself. That is just who I am right now. And it changes, as I experience things, and as time goes by. People I don’t know, though, can’t tell. They figure I’m hale and hearty and healthy! So sometimes, someone with grief puts on a mask of “I’m ok”, but also is less patient when they don’t fit the normal picture of “ok”. I am ok, but I’m not always happy. I am ok, but I need time to be sad. I am ok, and part of that ok is being ok with my grief. I am not very patient with myself, since I no longer conform to non-grief ok. But I’m grief-ok, and I’m ok with that. Ok?

Lots of love,
~ Sarah

Infant loss resource document: www.tinyurl.com/infantloss

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