There are as many ways to grieve as there are grievers, and each way is valid. Download this card to show your loved one you support them in all the ways they need.
Truths about grief
People say that grief is selfish. I say that it maybe needs to be. Sometimes being selfish is the most important form of self-care possible.
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.
One of the common sayings that has bothered me in the past is this sentiment of, “Just hold on. Better days are coming.” The thing is, you can’t know that for certain. Nobody can.
Something I wish more people understood is that life after loss isn’t always about grief. Even when we do things to honor and remember our children, those things don’t come from grief alone, but from so many additional and powerful feelings.
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.
STILL grieving? Yes, I am still grieving. I am still grieving, because the work of grief is never done. I am still grieving, because I put into my grief what I cannot put into life with my son. I am still grieving, because he is STILL, and will always, be dead...
Before Adrian died, I had very little sense of the impact of death. It was an abstract concept to me. I had known people who had died, but nobody close enough to trigger intense grief. And so, when someone in my circle lost a child, I misunderstood.
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.
I was sitting with the patient advocate, and I was surprised to see the tears in his eyes, and they weren’t entirely for me. It turns out he had also lost a child to stillbirth—30 YEARS AGO. And he STILL grieved. Because there is no time limit on grief.
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.
It’s something I experienced, early in my grief: Do what you need, *but understand that eventually you will have to stop grieving and move on. And man, does this hurt! Because who defines this concept of “too much” of anything? Is it really possible to have too much grief? I don’t think so.
My daughter threw a tantrum on the kitchen floor just now. Wrought face and wet-noodily, she bemoaned the breakage of the back of her high chair, even though SHE was the one who broke it. I try very hard not to laugh at these things. The world is heavy when you’re tiny.
When I was new in my grief, there were a number of situations where people said or did something and I wanted to respond, but I just didn’t have the words. Now that I am further out, I have put together a set of potential scripts to use in these situations.
I am a growing and evolving creature. I am a grieving mother, and I am ALSO so many other things. And this is where I am today–exactly who and where I need to be. And I am both messy and complicated and also uniquely human. And I love being able to accept that and just be okay.
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.
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.
I think one of the hardest things I had to do was accept that grief isn’t always overwhelming. Sometimes it just exists, present but not always screaming.
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.
Two big influencers lost children this year. In the wake of heavy criticism of their public grief, I wrote this piece in defense of sharing photos and talking about our beloved deceased children. Today, that story was published in Scary Mommy.
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.
People like to talk about healing after loss, but “healing” from the death of my child is about as likely as regrowing a missing limb. It’s not happening.
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
Grief is often confused with sadness, or even depression. But grief isn’t sadness, and sadness is only one facet of grief.
I’ve seen this quote in many places, and it has always felt wrong to me. Especially if we acknowledge grief as tied intrinsically to love, then we understand that grief CAN’T be a passage; grief simply IS.
I am frustrated because of course this isn’t true. I can’t imagine the author has any real knowledge of grief. But these are the things that inform our cultural attitudes.
I call it a nuclear bomb. It’s a conversation ender. You meet someone, you’re making good small talk, and then they ask about your family. I will never deny my son. He is a permanent part of me. And so it happens — I tell them, “Yes, I have a child. He died shortly before he was born.” And everything stops. It’s no longer a casual conversation.
When a Type A personality grieves, at some point grief becomes her job. She finds old focus and determination. She reads books and attacks her grief with her previous energy.