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Life & Authenticity[shared_counts]
We are often asked to excuse hurtful behavior because the person had good intentions…An important corollary is that when someone has good intentions, they will want to make amends for any unintentional hurt. “Good intentions” are best revealed by changing behavior you’ve been informed is hurtful.
“Positive vibes only” sounds like a great message, but it unfortunately acts as erasure of the full emotional spectrum. Authenticity is always preferable.
This meme has been floating around for a while, and I honestly can’t stand it. Trauma is not your fault, period. Healing is never an obligation. Telling someone they have an obligation to heal from their trauma is just another form of toxic positivity.
e loss community is divided on this subject of guilt and fault. I know many bereaved parents find comfort in the sentiment, and I don’t seek to take that away from you. I only ask that you also acknowledge that other people may feel differently.
In the Before, I always thought of death as a sad experience, but one whose impact would eventually fade. I know now that you never really “get over” the death of someone you love; you can only integrate the loss and pain. And this is a process that is never-ending.
One of the more important things I’ve learned is that if what you’re feeling is authentic, then it’s valid, no matter what. Feelings don’t have to follow rules; they just exist.
Some people do choose to find positivity after loss, and I think that’s great. I think it’s an example of the many ways different people respond differently. But it’s not what I choose. And in my opinion, feelings must be an individual choice.
If you ask a widow about the worst kind of grief, they are going to say it’s losing a spouse. If you ask a bereaved parent about the worst kind of grief, they are going to say it’s losing a child. And they are both correct. Grief is not a competition.
As a loss parent, people often assume I am against abortion. I am not. Life is sometimes complicated, and this is one of those situations.
Growing up, I heard the words “be strong” a lot…And maybe this is something I have internalized. This sense of false stoicism, where emotions are suspect.
When someone is important in your life, you shouldn’t have to wait for them to “come around” to acknowledge and respect the things that are important to you. You deserve enthusiastic support from the very beginning. I do too. I deserve enthusiastic support, both in life and in grief.
Feelings aren’t required to be rational or reasonable, nor to follow anyone else’s expectations. I have the right to feel how I feel, for as long as I feel it, regardless of circumstances or whether someone else feels differently.
Before Adrian died, I was a relatively positive person. His death shattered my belief and confidence in the ultimate goodness of the world.
Before Adrian died, I always thought of tragedy and loss as something that happened to OTHER people, but not to me. Of course I feel differently now.
I didn’t have much experience with death or grief prior to the death of my son, and so I’m embarrassed that I genuinely used to believe everything was “okay” right after the funeral. This is how it’s often portrayed on TV. This is wrong.
Something I wish people understood is that it’s possible to laugh while you’re dying inside. Laughter doesn’t mean the grief is over. The two things can exist simultaneously.
If I’ve learned anything in the past 4 years, it is that, despite appearances, we have NO idea what anyone else is going through. All we tend to see is what is on the surface, and the few other glimpses people choose to share. And sometimes, what is shared is far from reality
Many years ago in the Before, my then-boyfriend asked me not to say, “I love you, but–“. As he pointed out, the word “but” is minimizing; it negates the importance of everything that came before. I think of this today, and I realize how much more valid my experience feels when I remove any “buts”. It definitely helps.
I’ve been running into a trend recently when I talk about Adrian’s death, especially when I share more “uncomfortable” feelings such as anger or regret. People seem to feel like they need to urge me to find peace or to otherwise feel differently. I wish more people understood the power in authenticity; in feeling whatever and however one needs.
I’ve seen so many people begin a post about grief with phrases like, “This may sound odd,” or “Sorry if this is weird.” I’ve decided I’m going to stop doing that. Grief doesn’t have to be reasonable. Death certainly isn’t.
I never really considered that question, “How are you?” until after the death of my son. And then it became the bane of my day. Please don’t ask me how I’m doing unless you’re prepared to hear the truth
Positivity is a choice, and it’s important that it remains an individual one. You can’t force other people to feel positive; you can only make them feel bad about feeling differently.
The only thing that happens when we refuse to consider the possibility of death, is that we refuse at the same time to plan for it, or prepare. We refuse to plan for some fairly necessary things like life insurance. Or safe pregnancy…
We are conditioned to look for the silver lining in everything, but some things simply don’t have one. It’s okay to acknowledge that.
I used to be so incredibly naïve. I used to believe all you needed was a positive attitude, and things would just—work out. Sometimes they don’t, though. And positivity is still being pushed as this mindless cure to what isn’t a disease. Positivity is meaningless without authenticity.
It feels like we are conditioned to look on the bright side of every dark situation, but sometimes there isn’t one. Sometimes, things just need to suck
Even in the face of great tragedy, people often feel pressured to put a positive spin on things; to find the silver lining in the dark. I won’t do with you. Sometimes the most meaningful thing anyone can say is, “This fucking sucks.” Because it does.
Sometimes, no matter how hard we look, there is genuinely nothing to be thankful for. That’s not a failing in our perception; it’s just life.
Sometimes; some days, I am just — tired. An exhaustion that goes beyond the surface. An exhaustion that is more than just physical.
Survivor’s bias is a logical fallacy that equates the experience of those who survived an experience with “proof” that such an experience is safe. It’s a fallacy, because it implies that one person’s positive outcome is automatically going to apply for everyone, but this isn’t true.
It is common in loss circles to talk about finding thankfulness in the life we have left. There are so many things wrong with this sentiment. The biggest problem is that it assumes the bereaved can’t be thankful and grieving at the same time. The other main problem is the unspoken assumption that thankfulness is a “cure” for grief. It isn’t.
They said time heals, but they lied. Time doesn’t heal. It’s only a measure of the length of the process.
Tragedy is not a one-time event. It happens over and over again–every morning; every milestone; every holiday. Every new experience is touched by the loss. In every experience, something is missing.
The last time I made an assumption about someone’s circumstances, I learned about the importance of looking further beneath. The story is almost always deeper.
We need to talk about grief.
We need to talk about death & the fact that it happens.
We need to talk about relationships & how they don’t go away even when someone dies.
We need to talk about the realities of loss & the complexities inherent in planning a life for someone who never gets to live it.
When my son died, I thought about suicide. It’s not that I wanted to die, per se; more that I didn’t know how to go on living. How did I make sense of life again? How did I function in a world in which I barely knew my name?
Pain and grief can make outsiders uncomfortable, and sometimes they may urge you to heal and be your positive self again. This is a reminder that you are always allowed to feel however you need to.
There is often this perception that healing is a required part of the process of grief. I don’t believe this is true. Healing is and must always be the choice of the individual.
I used to feel so much pressure to perform; to meet a certain standard at work and in life. And the worst part was, the bulk of this pressure was internal; something I demanded of myself. And then my son died, and I realized I didn’t have it in me to keep up with these illusory standards.
When I was new in my grief, I both gained and lost people…The one thing I didn’t expect was that I would have to remove some people from my life because they weren’t capable of providing support without worsening my grief.