I don't proofread my posts before I publish them... cause I keep my thoughts au naturale.

Thursday, March 28, 2024

The Grief Monster Comes for Us All

 I experienced a lot of funerals as a kid.  I can't put a number on it, but I remember going to quite a few.  My parents weren't old, but they had me in their mid-thirties and they had some family members that were on the older side and it just seemed like people were always dying.  My paternal grandfather died before I was born and then my step-grandfather died when I was like six.  Great grandparents went as an adolescent and grandparents were gone in my teens, with my last one passing in my early twenties.  Then I was exposed to tragedies like a middle school nurse dying in a car wreck, a friend in high school committing suicide, a friend in my late twenties committing suicide... I think that the way I learned to handle it was by just reminding myself that death was part of life and never thinking about the people again.

Sounds easy, right?  Of course it's not possible, we know this.  Some are easier to forget than others.  Some you never forget.  Some remain burned into your memories and haunt you at the most inopportune times.  Then comes the big death- the death of a parent.  I have not experienced the death of a child, and I hope never to have to.  I have a friend that I have recently seen experience this and I can't even fathom her pain.  But in my case, I finally experienced the death of a parent.   One of my best friends lost both of her parents at a young age and she was very close to them.  I went to the funerals and I have seen how hard it has been on her.  But I didn't think it would be like that for me because I didn't have that kind of relationship with my parent.  

But then when my dad started to get sick, one of my therapists worried because she said that people with borderline personality disorder experience loss differently if we have unresolved trauma.  She told my husband that I was going to take it hard.  I told myself that she didn't know me as well as she thought because I would accept it like I did every other death in my life.  Okay, so maybe I was wrong, and maybe she was right.  My sister-in-law once told me that I should have a "come to Jesus" moment with my dad and tell him how I felt about how I was raised.  I disagreed.  I thought it would put an undue strain on our already strained relationship.  Why say unkind things to each other when we clearly are two different people who think completely different things?  Those would leave memories that could never be taken back.  She said if he died having never unburdened myself I'd regret it.  I'm glad I didn't listen to her.  Like I thought, I would never have wanted my dad to have died knowing that I felt the way that I did.  Instead, the last memory I want him to have of me is the text I sent him telling him that I loved him.

What will I have?  Grief.  But just like with all those funerals I went to as a child, I'm trying to tell myself that death is a part of life.  But then it raises questions about my own mortality that I don't want to think about.  And that's a topic for a whole 'nother blog- or therapy session.

(See, I told you I'd make another post!)

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