Monday, July 15, 2013

There is no timeline on grief

Happy Monday!!  I'm going to talk about people dying.

am not an expert on grief, other than experiencing it on  my own.  I haven't read studies, statistics, or even many books on the subject.  But in the last couple months, a few of my Facebook friends have lost husbands, children and wives.  It seems to be happening suddenly, and more often than normal.

I don't know how other people feel when they hear about someone dying, when they haven't lost a very close loved one themselves, but I tend to take it very close to my heart.  I cry easily, and I can feel that stabbing pain.  This isn't that I am trying to make these losses about me, I just feel them.  And it really hurts.  

I know that I cannot help take away the pain of anyone who loses a loved one. We all wish we could.  But I always feel like we instantly belong to the same club.  Even though all of our losses are very different, and mine happened almost 26 years ago.  

I have a friend who lost her son in a very tragic way a few weeks ago.  I can barely even think anout it without crying.  We went to high school together, and honestly haven't really seen each other since.  I remember her being a very nice girl back then.  We have been Facebook friends for awhile, and have been talking on and off there sometimes.  One of those Facebook relationships that just happens because it's Facebook.  That is what I love about Facebook.  We get to reconnect and see what happens to all of us when we are grown ups.  

She has said a few times to me, that she feels like people are afraid to talk to her.  I think this is so common when someone dies.  Everyone is there at the beginning.  At the funeral, maybe a few days after.  There are promises made of "whatever I can do" and all of that.  The dust for everyone else settles and then people don't want to talk about it.  They want the person who loses the loved one, to get back to normal.  Mostly so that people don't have to feel bad for them anymore.

There is such a weird deal with that.  People are afraid of tears.  We have waterproof mascara in case we cry.  Because we shouldn't cry.  And if we are crying about the loss of a loved one, there is a societal limit on how long it is appropriate to fall apart.  

I remember a friend of my dad, who was in her sixties when she lost her mother.  She cried all of the time.  Forever.  (well...especially when she added booze).  And people would say, '"geez, when is she going to get over that shit?"  Or something like that.  She got over it, when she got over it.  I don't know if she sought help.  But there shouldn't be such a rush.  We shouldn't feel ashamed of how long it takes us to get used to living without someone we love.

The truth is, there is no limit on crying.  And we should allow people to fall apart in public, in private, at the beach, in the grocery store, wherever the fuck they are moved to feel bad about some horrible shit  they have been through.  

But it makes people uncomfortable.  We want everyone to be happy, all of the time.  Maybe if we took the pressure off of that, people would be able to feel better, sooner.  They could go at their own pace and not feel like they are terrible people for not feeling better.

So to all of my friends who are hurting right now because of the sudden loss you have had, don't let anyone make you feel like you need to get over it, stop crying, or any other misleading bullshit.  

I will throw in this advice.  Get some professional help with the grief.  I say this because a good therapist will remind you that you are okay, and feeling bad is a process, and that you should give yourself a break if you don't feel like cooking, or cleaning, or any of the other mundane life shit that seems impossible.  They should help you through this process at your pace. There is no shame of giving yourself the gift of professional help.

You can always come cry to me, although I'm no professional.  You know I'll cry with you.  We can wear real mascara and let that shit run!!

Take care of yourselves my friends.  My heart hurts for all of you.  


  1. Betsey, I just love you and your heart! I"m crying not reading this because hearing this from you is comforting. I'm going through so much right now with my Dad and its crazy how my closest friends dont call me or ask me how he's doing. My brother ( half brother) even texted me finally and said he was sorry that he hasnt called but he doesnt know what to say. My Dad is still alive but he's waiting on a lung transplant and its been a rough roller coaster. It hurts enough dealing through that and to have my friends go MIA pisses me off!
    One of my girlfriends lost her Mom this weekend and i cant stop thinking about her and i've cried for her too. You are a good friend!

    1. I know you are going through so much. Being at the hospital all of the time, the wedding, I can imagine you are under an incredible about of stress. Hang in there doll. You have a huge heart and I hope your dad gets his lungs today too!! People don't know how to handle these situations because they are scary and uncomfortable. It is too bad it can happen when you need them most. I am thinking about you often and have been keeping up with you through your blog. Hang in there girl. I am sending healing thoughts for the best possible outcome and your perfect wedding.

  2. Beautifully said, Betsey. Thank you. This weekend marked the one year anniversary of my brother passing at the young age of 47. My husband, daughters and I cried buckets as we miss him more today than ever. Last August, less than a month after his passing, my sister had a co-worker make a comment to the effect of "are you still crying about this?? when are you going to get over it?" or some sort of shit like that. It's a good thing I live 2 states away or I would have decked that person and I have never hit anyone in my life. Anyway, your post touched me very personally today and I truly appreciate it.

    1. Sorry it took me so long to get back to you on this. That isn't fair for anyone to say. We take the time we take. Thanks for commenting.

  3. Thanks for sharing your feelings on this, and your insights. I appreciate it, as I have not personally experienced the kind of tragic loss that so many go through. Your words do help me understand. A friend of the family lost her young son to addiction and suicide last week, and it is amazing to see how many people knew him, people I had no idea were connected. It is just tragic to have to grieve alone when so many people are affected. Love your writing, keep it up!