Grief and Compassion

There is a man in dirty jeans and sweat stained shirt, talking on the phone and holding a stop sign. He is balanced on one leg, his heavy work boot planted firmly in the center of my chest. His name is Grief.

*****

I realized today that I expect myself to do this whole grieving thing gracefully. Puffy eyes and snotty nose are acceptable but anger and jealousy are not. Once again I am holding myself to impossible standards. I am afraid that being wholly human – i.e. having ugly parts, ugly feelings – will make me unlovable. That is an old fear and I have a feeling that letting go of it will be one of Benjamin’s gifts to me. One of my gifts to myself. Which means I have to risk being ugly and unlovable and out of control. I have to risk being me.

*****

Sending my love and gratitude to Mynde and Laurel for holding space for my grief with compassion today, for helping me see fear in a different light, and for reminding me to trust the process.

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5 Responses to Grief and Compassion

  1. raquel archung says:

    I am so deeply sorry for the loss of your son Benjamin. Thank you for sharing your difficult journey. I can understand your pain because I too have lost a son Zachary at 18 weeks and my daughter Ava at 24 weeks. My heart aches for you. Sending all my love…
    Raquel

  2. Angela says:

    I too struggle with holding myself to impossible standards. There is no “right” way to do this grief thing. I’ve even been told it’s good to feel anger and jealousy, because it means the beginnings of healing. I have no idea if that is true. Give yourself the space you need to grieve. It is understandable and normal and perfectly okay.

  3. T says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I just came across your blog yesterday and my heart breaks for you. I lost my son at 23 weeks in April. He is our first. Time has helped but when I break down, I break down and I wonder if I’ve really healed at all with the passing of time. It minimally helps to remind myself that there is no right way to grieve. Also, that I can’t go over it, under it or around it…I just have to go through it. I used to love plans and love to chart out my future, my life and now with this grief, I would love to be able to tell myself “this is how long it will take” or “this is when you will feel better” but my new reminder is that I’m not in control and I have to accept that. Sorry, I don’t think this post is making sense or helping but, thank you for sharing your blog and my heart truly truly goes out to you.

  4. Emily says:

    Today church was hard. The pastor touched on the death of David & Bathsheba’s first son. David was inconsolable as he prayed for God’s mercy on his son. But once the child had been delivered to heaven, David took a shower and ate some dinner. His response to this was that he knew where the baby was now, what was the point of grieving any longer? He’ll see him in heaven. Sometimes I wonder how he did it. And why God chose to allow that into His Word. Does it make us less faithful to grieve the way we do? Is David my “impossible standard”?

    I lost my daughter at 19 weeks 5 days on 5/21/09. For you who are just starting this journey, getting past her first birthday marked the end of my heavy grieving. That’s not true for everyone, but it seems to be pretty common throughout the BL community. I’m always praying for you who are walking that road. ((hugs)) Alana!

  5. Marie-Noelle Poulin says:

    Hi Alana,
    I have been reading your blog and crying with you. I admire your skillfulness at looking inside of yourself and recognizing all those feelings and questions and observations. You have an amazing gift.
    I remember having very ugly feelings while going through my journey and the more I let them sit inside my stomach, the uglier they became and the more ashame of them I became. Once I decided to open the door to let them out of me, they were not as scary or threatening; they were just that: feelings, that I needed to process, out in the open.
    Thinking of you and sending you light.
    Big hugs!
    Marie xx

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