I’m that person. The person I never wanted to be, but here I am. You know the one everyone whispers about when they enter a room? The one they say, “Isn’t that the woman whose daughter died?” Yes, I am that person. My daughter died at 28 and the sad part is, it was an addiction that ended her life. Now, I am that person
If you recently had a love one die, then you are that person too. What becomes awkward is suddenly people don’t know what to say to you and you are the one to help them feel more comfortable. You say “Thank you for your words, don’t feel bad”, “Don’t be sorry, it’s not your fault” and “You’re right I am sure they are in a better place”
Then when the obligatory exchange of “the right thing to say” happens, people turn the conversation to more light-hearted topics or to talking about themselves… and you’re left being that person. You nod and respond to the chatter that barely registerers with your brain, while internally you are screaming at the person, “Can’t you see I’m grieving?”
Grief is an emotion we don’t like to talk about, I think that’s because it’s an emotion we don’t fully understand. Grief can happen to anyone suffering a loss of any kind. It doesn’t have to be a death. It could be the loss of a relationship, a pet or a job.
Grief happens when someone or something you love disappears from your life. For being one of the most powerful and debilitating emotions, it’s the one we feel most uncomfortable experiencing.
Joy, Happiness, Anger, Sadness and love are some emotions we can speak about for hours. We usually give poor grief a few cliché sayings and never allow it to be the core of a conversation. It’s not anyone’s fault, it’s the way we have been raised and what society deems as appropriate.
“Give it time”, “I know how you feel”, “You have to keep living” But these are statements you don’t want to hear.
You don’t want to give it time, that donates that you will somehow “get over your loss” You never get over it.
And no you don’t know how I feel. You may have had a similar experience, but your bond with the person who passed is unique to you and that person. People may understand that you are grieving, that they have experienced comparable emotions, but every individual and their grief is unique.
Yes, we have to keep living, I agree, but it doesn’t make the grief go away. It becomes an accessory to our daily life, like an ankle bracelet, not overly noticeable but part of you with every step you take.
The griever is also in an awkward position. We feel if we are too happy, others might think we didn’t care about our love one as much as we proclaim. If we walk around sad and sound like Eeyore, we feel guilty for bringing everyone around us down.
There is no right answer for how to act or feel around others. Triggers happen without notice and the smallest most inconsequential thing may ambush us with a surge of grief. I tell everyone that “My grief comes in waves, so I try to breathe when the tide is out”
For those suffering a recent loss or continuing to mourn a loss of a love one, I say embrace your grief. You will never be whole, you will never be fully healed, but remember grief equals love. If you did not love that person, you wouldn’t be grieving. The deeper the love, the more intense is the grief.
Take your time, talk to those who will listen, shed those tears and hold your head up high. Become “That Person”, the one who is not afraid to grieve and show it, not just ‘that’ person everyone is whispering about.
About Purse Impressions
In memory of the passing of Courtney Elizabeth Michaels ( 28 years old) and her struggles with alcohol abuse, Purse-Impressions is a Nonprofit Corporation started by her mother Patricia. Purse-Impressions mission is “To gift graduates from rehab with a purse that celebrates their accomplishments, allowing them to move forward with dignity, strength and the knowledge that someone cares”
Patricia Brusha, President