I know I have been quiet lately. I have opened my blog many times to write out a new post. I just haven't had it in me. I have been having a hard time lately, and am willing to admit it. I am working through some new struggles. Writing does help me, but it can also be very tiring. It is hard to be honest with myself and others. Even more so to put it all in print for people to read and scrutinize.
I finished my Grief Share course last week. I feel like it has helped and would recommend it to anyone who asked. Some of the last sessions were dedicated to "20 lessons of grief". These helped me to reflect upon what my grief has "taught" me. I may not have 20, but I do have some lessons I think are worth mentioning. However, today I want to share with you some things that my grief has taught me:
Time does not heal all wounds.
I am not saying that wounds don't get healed. I just do not like this saying at all. It takes hard work to heal those emotional wounds. Saying that time takes care of them is taking away the credit for the work and effort you have put into healing. It is okay to admit that you have struggled and worked through a lot of stuff since your loss! Trust me you have worked hard, and you deserve the credit.
Grief is not a straight line of healing.
I have mentioned this before, but I want to reiterate the idea of circular grief. You can't move past one stage and expect to never see it again. Bad days pop up, no matter how many good days are between them. I am a little over a year out from when I started this journey. I already have way more good days than I did a year ago. However, that doesn't mean I don't have bad days, or even bad weekends/weeks. It isn't a set back. It is just how grief works.
Some friends will distance themselves.
This is just a natural part of grief. I have accepted it and moved on. I don't have hard feelings against anyone who felt like they couldn't handle my grief. I will freely say that I am a lot to handle some days. I have had some people who used to be my closest friends who I haven't spoken to in months now. I can't be the friend they once remembered right now. Maybe we will reconnect someday. Maybe I will never talk to those people again. People split ways for more than just grief. It is just a fact of life.
Some friends will embrace you in ways they never have before.
I was surprised at some of the people who became closer to me through my grief. These were people I probably considered acquaintances before, but they embraced our friendship in a whole new way. I will be forever grateful to these people. The people who weren't afraid of my bad days. The people who still bring up Connor without fear or discomfort. The people who will listen to my rants or whining. Although none of these items seem like big things, they are huge.
The child loss community exists and is strong.
I have met so many fantastic people through the child loss community. I have met these people both online and in person. I would have never known some of my closest friends had we not lost Connor. The running joke is of course that we wish we didn't know each other. While we have a deep connection, any of us would trade these friendships to have our children here with us. It is kind of odd the type of connection that is instantly felt in this community. Although, it may sound cheesy it is real and intense. I have a few friends who I can text my most guarded thoughts to and they won't blink an eye. They will instantly reply "I have been there and understand."
It is a struggle to not get bitter.
An every day, very real, struggle. Go take a peek through your Facebook feed. Consciously notice how many photos of children enjoying Easter were posted yesterday. I posted some of my stepson even. However, during all of that, I kept thinking how I should have been helping an eleven month old toddle around and find eggs. His absence was very real to me. I could feel him missing. It was hard not to get bitter looking at all the pictures of people getting to enjoy their Easter with their little one(s).
The struggle to not be bitter in grief is real and daily.
I will be okay.
No matter what this wild ride of grief has thrown at me, it has taught me one main lesson. I will be okay. I have survived one of the worst things that could have happened and came out the other side of it. I won't just limp by either. I am healing in leaps and bounds. I know I will be okay, because already my good days way outweigh the bad days. Already, I can think about Connor and not instantly feel a deep dread in my heart and soul. I will be okay, because there really isn't any other option.
These are some of the lessons that my grief has taught me. I'm sure if you asked twenty people who are grieving for their list there would be twenty unique lists. My list could be very different years, or months, from now. This is my list today.