Friday, September 28, 2012

Making Grief Good

My mind has been drifting back lately.  Even though I am in a good place now, it wasn't always like this.  The days when Alex's adoption was new were a great swell of sadness.  I hadn't had proper time to grieve the loss of my husband when she came into view. Both losses threatened to drown me in their riptides.  I was trying to swim above the swell.  I knew that I'd made my decision.  I'd done so much talking it up that I didn't want anyone to see how sad I was. Tears made rivers on my face at a moment's notice and at unpredictable times.  I would run to the bathroom to try to clean myself up rather than let anyone see.  I didn't want anyone to worry that I'd made the wrong choice or changed my mind. Even if I had, it was too late now.  I had such little aftercare.  In fact, most birthmoms do. Either because they don't seek it or it is non-existent in the first place.  Such a great loss and so few options. 

I did a lot of equating the loss of my husband with Alex.  The intensity was the same.  Although, when you lose a spouse, everyone expects you to fall apart. That is normal.  In the instance of choosing adoption the dogmatic response to a grieving birthmother seems to be "but you did a great thing".  Let me tell you something. There are a lot of things that one could say to someone who is suffering a loss but trying to help them see the sunny side when the sky is falling is not the right thing to do.  It was of little consequence to me to hear that I'd done anything of merit when what I'd done was hurting me to badly.  I felt the same way when people would pat my back, hand me a tissue and say "at least you have his daughter" or "be grateful for the time you had".  Well meaning things that fail to comfort.  You want to  make someone feel better? Cry along with them and give them a hug. That speaks volumes without saying a word. 

When I started to rally I began to feel guilty. To me, feeling better was the same as not caring as much but I still did and I didn't want anyone to feel like my feelings had changed based on my demeanor.  Finding myself walking out of the surf of sadness almost made me want to run back into the tide!  Why did I feel that way?  I suspect that the grief was a way that I could still feel connected to what I'd lost.  Somehow I was afraid that if I let go of the pain that I would forget.

Now that I am in a better place I can look  back and see how flawed my logic was.  How I could systematically forget about two people who have left an indelible mark on my life is almost laughable.  Now I can see that these experiences can be used for more good than upping the stock prices of the Kleenex company.  It's not to say that I don't have my times of revisiting the feelings of loss, of course I still do, but I don't let it fool me into thinking that this is the only way to show love to the two people who are no longer in my life.  I can take these experiences and channel the feelings into something worthwhile, something that can benefit others.  In this way, I can still remember them every day and show everyone else how much they mean to me in a way that lets people know it's okay to feel better even if their world will never be the same. 

No comments:

Post a Comment