People are so kind and compassionate toward children who are grieving. We make allowances for them, and celebrate when they do “normal” things like go to school, play with friends, or make jokes. We say how wonderful it is that children can bounce back, and we marvel at how resilient they are. It makes me wonder why aren’t we the same way towards adults.
After Madeline died, I had no idea how scrutinized I would be. I know part of that was because I was writing publicly about my grief, and while the majority of the comments I received were hugely supportive, there were plenty that were horribly negative. It wasn’t just from strangers, either – I had a person I interacted with in real life make plenty of remarks here and there that the things I was doing were inappropriate. Little jabs like, “Oh, how wonderful that you’re already moving past Maddie’s death, since you’re going to a movie.” or “You and Mike went away for the weekend? You must be feeling better.” (Needless to say, that person is no longer in my life.)
Unfortunately, these emails and remarks got to me, and at times I was nervous to live my life. I felt like if I laughed at a joke, or ate at a restaurant, or celebrated a birthday, everyone would think that I was disrespecting my daughter. How I dealt with my grief became less about what I needed and more about what I thought was expected. I couldn’t bear the thought of anyone thinking I wasn’t “properly” mourning my daughter, and that greatly slowed down my immediate healing process.
I used to wait for my therapist across the hall from a children’s grief therapy group session, and sometimes the door would open and I’d see the kids playing tag, or coloring, or all laughing. I’d have the typical “Oh, it’s so great those kids are smiling” reaction, followed by pangs of jealousy. Those kids weren’t worried about what people thought, but they also didn’t have to be. No one would ever think a child was “over” the death of a parent/sibling/whoever just because they witnessed a happy moment. Yet, some would judge a grieving adult’s moment of happiness or escape as being improper.
I don’t know why some people choose to judge others during their hardest times. Every person and situation is so different that even those who have walked the same path can’t always relate. Everyone deserves the same compassion when they are grieving, regardless of age.
I think that sometimes people don’t know what to say, and in trying to say something they put their feet in their mouths.
Honestly, not one of us knows your journey and your pain, because it is impossible for us to have walked it, even if we lost a child, because the relationship you had with Maddie is yours and yours alone. I don’t believe you will ever stop grieving for her and what you would have wanted for her. I pray that you come to a place that it doesn’t hurt as much as it does today. You will never forget her and you will never stop loving her or missing her. That doesn’t make you a bad person, it makes you a Mom that misses her daughter. Annie and the Acrobat can’t replace her. They can only add to your experiences as a Mom.
Embrace your grief, own your grief and allow it to occupy a part of you. It isn’t a terrible thing if you allow it some space. It is only detrimental to you when it consumes all of you, and my sense is that it doesn’t. I only know what you share here, but it doesn’t sound like it takes over. Keep talking about it, it really is ok. It is a beautiful thing that you allow Maddie’s memory to be a part of Annie’s life as well. Maddie was a part of your life, you will never ever be able to erase that – so why would you erase the grief around her passing. Hugs and more hugs Heather.
couldn’t have said it any better than you Tracey!
Ditto. Sometimes you may feel judged or scrutinized, but it may just be someone trying to make you feel better but they haven’t a clue how to do it. It really breaks my heart to watch someone grieve a loss and feel helpless to alleviate the pain.
You are right.
But when I come across someone who has suffered a terrible loss, I get so nervous talking to them. Afraid to say anything hurtful or just ‘wrong’. Not wanting to upset them by mentionning their loss, or upsetting them by not mentionning it and implying that they no longer hurt.
I tend to ramble on, as I am doing now, but what I would like to say is that I am very sorry for your loss and I’ve been thinking about your beautiful daughter from across the Ocean (I live in Belgium).
Oh Heather, your post made me so angry. How can people be so insensitive? I’m so sorry you have had to experience what is obviously just pure ignorance. Be assured that they are the minority, and that the majority totally understands people’s different ways of dealing with grief. Much love xxxx
My mother always says that guilt is the gift that keeps on giving. I admire those who can move on and forward because it is all I know how to do. I pray for the people who are not like me and I try to support them. At the same time, I have sympathy for those who get the jabs in because they have not walked in my shoes or I theirs and I hope they never have to.
My cousin, who was almost 52 and bipolar, passed away last week of her own hand. My Aunt has chosen to go on about her business and pain without an obituary or memorial service. My cousin had friends and family that will miss her despite such a terrible illness. I am angry at my Aunt but I truly don’t know if this is what my cousin wanted and I have to zip my lips. That hurts me more than knowing Linda chose to find the peace elsewhere because it wasn’t on earth.
I recently had a similar experience when a close friend’s father passed away suddenly. I so desperately want to see her happy, and I’ve made remarks similar to “It’s so great that you’re out and having supper with friends!” I don’t mean it in a bad way. I hope it didn’t come across like I was glad she’s over her dad’s death – she is obviously not, and I wouldn’t expect her to be. I am truly glad that she has support that can give her moments of happiness amongst an otherwise grief-filled time.
This. I have walked with friends during very difficult times in their life, including loss and great periods of grief. I made a conscious effort to be supportive in ways of my actions, but careful with my words. I wanted desperately to see them happy and smiling. I wanted to see signs that my friend got to feel good for a moment even if only for a moment. My insides were cheering for them to just get a break from suffering.
I also witnessed people say very similar things to my friends that you shared above, and I don’t think that they meant it as a negative feeling. I think that they were probably feeling what I was but verbalized it in a different way.
I’m sorry you felt hurt, though, Heather. I really am.
I believe there is a world of difference between “I am so happy to see you having supper with friends” and “You must be feeling better [read: getting over this] because you are at a movie.” The one speaks to the hope of family and friends that someone, in their darkest hour, might find a few moments that are not quite as heavy, because those who support someone who is grieving desperately want a bit of happiness to find its way back into that person’s life. The other comprises crass words of an idiot who assumes that every person must follow the same blueprint for behavior while grieving.
I really wouldn’t worry – if you are genuinely happy for your friend, she knows that. It’s obvious when the person’s words have a different meaning and yours clearly did not!
Beeb Ashcroft says:
I can only speak for myself, but when I experienced the very sudden and traumatic death of my mom, I knew the difference between friends trying to be supportive and people being outright thoughtless. I know how hard it is to think of the “Right” thing to say – even after all my experience with death and suicide of loved ones, I still feel like I often put my foot in my mouth when I try to comfort others going through a loss! – so if a friend made a comment off-hand that could potentially be taken the wrong way, I always knew the good intentions and what they were trying to convey! I think what Heather is referring to is out-and-out malicious/snarky comments – for example, when I was taking care of some matters at a place of business relating to my mother’s death, and an employee said, “Did your dad even care when your mom died?”
On the flip side, also remember that people going through grief could potentially have a bad reaction even to positive things that are said or done just because of what they’re going through. Try not to worry about the words too much – you sound like an awesome and sensitive friend! Just be honest, open and supportive – your loving presence is what a bereaved person needs, the words of sympathy don’t have to be perfect by any means!
I’ve gotten comments on my grief over my own preemie girl who died way too early as well. And of course it affects us and the grief. It’s awful what people can say.
I’m sorry it happened to you too.
Much love and peace to you and yours.
The saving grace is that for every complete dink who astounds with their insensitivity, there are legions standing along park grounds and mountaintops releasing balloons. There are people checking in and they’ll keep checking in and supporting. Thank you for calling people out on this and for showing us time after time that the true act of kindness is loving people through anything.
Love your comment – it so beautifully said and something I will carry with me – thank you!
I’m so sorry! This makes me so sad. It’s always a bit shocking how others react when bad things happen: sometimes the people you don’t expect to show up are right there and ‘friends’ disappear or say the most hurtful things. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to grieve–we all just do what we can to survive and keep moving.
yes! You find friends in unexpected places, and you find out who you can truly count on – and it’s not always who you think it will be.
I had a traumatic event as a child. A deeply wounding event, and the grief that I feel is still something that I carry with me everyday of my life, some 31 years later. Most days people would hardly know know there is a hurt that still lingers with each beat of my heart, but some days it does bubble to the surface and has to be dealt with. I am blessed to have a wonderful support system of people willing to listen to my feelings as I continue to process this terrible event in my life. They listen to me without judgement, and for that I am truly grateful.
As horrible as this loss was, and still is, it shaped the person I am today. I know all too well what living with pain feels like. Through my own life experiences, I’ve learned that everyone processes their own pain differently, and on their own time table. I know that some things will hurt forever but must be lived through, and I can feel nothing but compassion for a fellow human being in mourning.
I think some people are deeply uncomfortable with pain, their own and the pain of others. These types of people are like the old friend you described. They want to gloss over the harder aspects of life, and they do not make the most supportive friends. They mask their own feelings by judging others. And as hard as it is to feel anything but anger toward this type of people, I’ve come to actually feel sorry for them. They are so closed off and clueless that probably will never know or experience the deeper aspects of love and friendship.
I hope that most of the time, sharing your grief in this forum brings you comfort or at least catharsis. There are so many people, even in cyber space, that consider it an honor to share both your joy and your sorrow with your beautiful family.
Yes! So true.
I personally cannot handle funerals, and this has always been a problem for me, as people judge you terribly.
I simply can’t do it emotionally, especially for those who are close. It doesn’t bring closure, nor is it a “celebration” of their life; it’s salt in the wound. I’m literally the person sobbing uncontrollably in a puddle on the floor. Even at funerals that’s not really acceptable (especially loud crying, as I’m prone to.) I literally have a breakdown — and not in a good, cathartic way. It’s in a bad, this-is-unnecessarily-upsetting-and-even-worse-that-I’m-losing-my-shizz-in-public sort of way.
And, of course, others judge you harshly. Because if you don’t go to the funeral, then you must not miss or love the person!
In fact, it’s the exact opposite! I love so much that I simply cannot handle the funeral.
I even feel like I need to get “permission” from the dying individual; permission to skip the funeral.
It’s terrible. I hate it. I hate it that others feel the need to judge your grief.
And I’m so sorry that others’ scrutiny have impacted your grieving process, Heather. It’s terrible, terrible, terrible that you lost your little girl. It’s the icing on the terribleness cake that people have felt the need to judge you — and to your face. That’s even worse! If you absolutely must judge, keep it to your freakin’ self!
Something you wrote reminded me of how I felt about my grandmother’s grief, when her son died suddenly. I knew she would never, ever be the same. It broke her heart. And I hated that; I hated that she would never know true happiness ever again because she had lived through so much; she deserved to be happy. In the months following my uncle’s death, whenever I saw my grandmother appearing happy, I’d ask my mom, “Is she feeling better? Is she okay?”
I so desperately wanted her to be “better,” to be “okay.”
Of course, she never was “better” or “okay.” I realize that now as an adult — that you can’t “recover”; you just live with it. After his death, her health went downhill and fast. She lived for 10 more years, but most of those years were spent in a fog of dementia. But it was a fog where her son, sisters and husband were still alive, so we let her stay in that place. We never had the heart to tell her that they were gone — she’d never remember or believe that, plus she would have lost them all over again……and over and over and over.
I read this article on the LA Times site, about how to deal with others who are grieving in a compassionate matter using the “ring theory.” I love it, so I wanted to share!
That article is GREAT! I love “comfort in, dump out.” It’s perfect. Thank you for sharing!
I was devastated when my father passed away 5yrs ago.
He had cancer, it was terribly unkind to him. It broke my heart everyday to see him sick, moreso broken when he passed away.
I won’t ever forget the way close friends took liberties, and told me how “badly” I grieved his loss. After the year of “firsts” (how I hated that year)…..friends and co-workers again, told me they were glad its been a year, because now I would be “better”. I even had a Supervisor at work tell me that she got over her fathers death much better than I did. Later on that year, she attempted to write me up at work. She “caught” me crying at my desk, became livid that I was doing this for attention and trying to get out of work.
Really, I was crying because I had written about my grief, and was just told that our local Hospice wanted to use my words for a campaign they were going to run. Later my piece was in our paper. Some of my co-workers got together and framed it, to honor me at work. My supervisor refused their request to hang the framed piece, it would just let others know they didn’t have to be the “same” if/when they ever suffered a loss.
I no longer work there.
The damage done, that some people chose to make assumptions, where really, all I ever needed was an understanding smile, or a “how ya doing” led me to doubt my very own personal grief. I became afraid to be seen, in case someone would comment I wasn’t grieving the right way.
I’ve spent a lot of time with a tissue box talking to my therapist!
Best advice I ever did get, was, Be gentle with yourself, be kind to your feelings and allow yourself as much time that you need…..there is no time limit on grief.
Now, anyone I know who has suffered a loss, I share my words, I always make a small care package, am and forever will be ready with a warm and understanding smile….
Sunshine, I’m so sorry that you were in such a toxic atmosphere during a fragile time. Grief is not an Olympic sport!
A coworker of mine gathered people around to tell them the Dramatic Story of her friend finding a dead body. Three weeks after my father died and me sitting ten feet away. I had to be sent home for the day because I was an angry sobbing wreck.
Maybe people are unkind because you have never acknowledged or addressed the way you put AD DOLLARS on your grief and your daughters death. There are communities online in which you can write about grief and support and get support from others who have lost children. Glow in the Woods is one: the writing is wonderful. And the difference is that they are genuine, and not monetizing their grief. But I suspect Heather Spohr would never waste her time or energy on something like that… There’s no pay day!
My readers aren’t stupid – they can see the ads that have been on this site since 2008, a year before Madeline’s death. The ads allow me to pay some bills and dedicate my time to Friends of Maddie without taking any administrative fees. I’ve been blogging since 2002, so I wasn’t going to shut down my own site and hope that another site would let me post for them every now and then. If I could go back in time, I would do a lot of things differently, but the way I blogged would be at the bottom of the list because there were way more important things going on. Maybe you would have done things differently, but I hope you never have to find out.
“Maybe” seems to need attention. “Maybe” please seek mental health counseling.
Well said, Heather.
Really? Are you a real person? You have a problem with Heather because there are some ads on her website?
I am grateful on a daily basis that Heather and Mike share their lives, with joy, with grace, and with the extreme courage it takes to allow their private pain to be shared.
I come every day to celebrate and grieve with the Spohrs -If Heather and Mike get some money from my visits, good. If their writing makes them money that allows them the freedom to own their time – even better. I often feel like I should cut them a check for the added benefit they have brought to my life. You have just inspired me to go and make a gift to Friends for Maddie right now.
Sometimes I wonder that people this mean-spirited can really exist in the world.
MAYBE you should get off this blog and never come back.
This was unkind and rude. You even helped prove a point. Some people are careless and disrespectful with their words, sad, you clearly set out to intentionally hurt.
Sorry you have to read stuff like this Heather.
Maybe, just maybe Ms/Mr Maybe YOU shouldn’t judge. I had this whole long response typed up and almost hit send and then realized “maybe” who is afraid to use your name that you are not worth it.
And if you were a faithful reader of this here awesome blog you would know that they (The Spohrs, including Annie)do plenty of things for FREE for OTHER PEOPLE, and spend plenty of energy helping other people. Friends of Maddie ring a bell?
Heather, I’m so sorry that you have to read and deal with people like this! You and Mike have so much courage to share your life so publicly. I’m really glad that you do.
Many hugs to you! Maddie is in my thoughts every day, especially this week.
Wow! Really??? Really??? Shows how much you DO NOT know Heather and Mike as well as how callous and cruel and judgmental you are to even write a comment such as this here. I suggest either a) you never come back or b) go back to the very beginning of when Heather began blogging and read forward, get to know the family, get to know their joys, their sorrows, their hearts–in doing so, you would know that Heather & Mike would never capitalize off the death of their precious daughter!
Heather & Mike, so sorry you ever have to read comments like these! I’m sure it adds to your grief in immeasurable ways. xoxo
Debbie A-H (editdebs) says:
MAYBE some people are unkind because they are a@@wipes.
I’m sorry, this may sound inappropriate given the nature of the blog post, but this made me laugh and mentally high-five you, Heather. Seems like you’ve hit the nail on someone’s head and all they have left at the bottom of their bag of retaliations is this hilarity. How is that even a criticism? I doubt the site mentioned here would be all that impressed with this method of promotion either so the whole thing is just a balls-up from start to finish.
You’re a powerful woman, Heather. Kudos to you.
And also ditto to nearly every sentiment on here. You grieve however the hell you want and the worthwhile people will love you anyway. That kind of BS attitude about having to suck it up and soldier on was what my mother had to face when she lost her first child and it’s insulting. Maddie left a legacy of love that should be celebrated. She doesn’t deserve any less.
Wow. Really? You just typed that up and hit “submit” without flinching?
I have no words.
If you are put off by the way the Spohrs run their own private blog, nobody’s holding you down to read it. Get a life. GO AWAY and never come back.
Yikes! Go to goaway land, you are such a witch. How dare you judge Heather. Hey, karma’s a bitch……
So beautifully written – it touches the core of grief we all go through and how much “judging” is always swirling around us as to how we should deal with it.
I love your blog and your heartfelt honesty, humor, love and realism.
I agree, Heather! I’ve not suffered the loss you have & can’t even imagine what you’ve gone through & how each year brings back the memory. I would get so angry at some of the things said as you continued to live your life. Keep doing what is best for you & ignore those negative comments!
I am so sorry that you and your grief has been so disrespected. Grief is a very personal experience and no one gets to tell you how to do it…on good days or on the bad ones.
My brother and his wife walk behind you on the same path…there will always be good days and there will always be bad days…I know I can’t help. I know that no matter how many tears I shead, it won’t bring back their/our precious Annie. But I do know that love and compassion will make the most difficult situation a teeny bit easier. That is my job….to make their journey easier.
I completely agree. It is amazing how quickly people forget that you are a human with feelings and needs. I had people give me the sideways glance when they realized I got pregnant a month after Emma died. I am grieving yes, but I am still human. I still need to laugh AND cry. I need to feel everything I can because my daughter can’t anymore.
I wish you didn’t know this pain – both of losing your sweet girl and the judgement that comes from others while dealing with that loss.
We will never be over it. No matter how much we laugh, play and have fun, what other people don’t understand is that there is always that dark cloud lingering, that knowledge that this moment is not as perfect as it should have been.
oh yeah…well, you know I get that sideways glance, too. Love you Kim xoxoxo
These comments are interesting as I am only 3 months in to the loss of a precious loved one and grief is hitting me directly in the face. What I have read above I agree with, no right or wrong way to grieve and we will all grieve differently. What I find most mystifying is how people tend to ignore this horrible event in your life that took place. Not only co-workers but some friends as well. How hard is it to look a grieving person in the eye and really ask how they are? And be prepared to listen. Body language is everything people!! I have done something that probably isn’t healthy in grief…shut myself out. Like taking a break from people other than trying to manage to go to work. Grief is something you cannot prepare for. Live has changed. I see the world differently. A chapter in my own life has closed and I am trying to live in the next. What I have learned from this awful time is that we need to take the time to care. Love on people that are hurting. And not electronically. They need to see you in person not by email/text/facebook/twitter whatever….stop being too busy to care.
My family has dealt with some horrible reactions to grief as well and I will never understand it. My mother’s cousin’s long term boyfriend (30 years) passed away suddenly about 18 months ago and about three month’s later, the grieving “widow” was asked by her brother if she didn’t think it was time to “get over it already.” The other side of that story is that this same “widow” told me I wasn’t there for my mother when my aunt died very suddenly when my son was 3 weeks old. I was with my mother for five straight days, doing everything I could. I was three weeks post partum, grieving my own loss of the aunt I loved so deeply and afraid I was going to lose my mother to her own grief. That was over 10 years ago and I still have not grieved totally because it was taken away from me. People do not understand the power their words truly have. I honestly think people think that saying something is better than nothing and they think they are being helpful.
UGH! So awful! I am so sorry.
My favorite is advice from experts who are truly no expert. People who haven’t walked the same shoes. I can’t say I know what breast cancer is like so why I would I act like an expert about it?
right? And yet, so many “know” what you’re going through, or how they would act in your shoes.
I’m so sorry, Heather. I guess it’s true when they say that 100 people can compliment you but 1 person won’t and it’s that one person you will remember. It’s awful. But, you do what’s best for you because only you know that. My mom lost a son before my birth some 38 years ago. She will never be over it and I don’t pretend to know what she went through. All I can do is listen to her talk about him on the rare occasion that she feels like talking about it. Much love to you and Mike and Annie.
You are 100% right. My husband was very sick and hospitalized multiple timse over the course of a year not too long ago. It was difficult on my little family, but sometimes I’m grateful for the hardship b/c it helped make all of us more empathetic and understanding. I think we all developed a new level of patience, tolerance and kindness. Another thing it did was let us weed out true friends and unsupportive extended family from the pack. As a result, today we surround ourselves with positive people who lift us up and don’t waste our time with the rest. Others said it better than I, but I admire you and Mike. Living in the present, enjoying life and providing Annie with fun memories in no way diminishes Maddie’s memory. Just like spending some time grieving Maddie’s passing helps fortify you for the fun times to come.
This makes me sad, even though I know it’s so very true. When I lost my mom, a few people made some of those same comments to me. It’s very discouraging because you feel you need to act a certain way for others, when really you are just trying to live minute by minute, or hour by hour, to get through it.
I know exactly what you mean. After my daughter died, the second someone saw me smile, heard me laugh, or maybe even ran into me at the grocery store, thought I was “over” “it”. My daughter was stillborn at 38 weeks. I used to hear comments about how “it was a good thing I never got to know her”, “she was probably going to be retarded anyway”, “at least you have other children”, “at least you’re young and can have more children”. Most times I nodded and walked away. Other times the comments were just to hurtful. My daughter would have turned 18 this year. People still do not understand why I celebrate her birthday and mourn her death. And why, after 18 years, I’m still so terrible sad over her loss.
kim hartman says:
my heart hurts for you.
Hugs to you, Lisa. We’re thinking of your daughter, too.
My heart hurts for you, also.
I don’t understand how people don’t understand!!! She is your daughter, why WOULDN’T you celebrate and mourn her?! And the things that were said to “comfort” you are awful. I am so, so sorry.
Lisa, I am so sorry you had people say such unkind things to you. So terrible.
kim hartman says:
Lady, you make me proud to read your blog, and thankful that you and Mike allow us into your lives. what a gift you give to us all. I relate to you on this subject on every level. My son’s identical twin gave up his ghost when I was 7 months pregnant. every birthday is a celebration and a reminder that I should be having two birthdays. the worst comment ever was when my surviving child was being naughty, and someone would say, “aren’t you glad you don’t have two?” Broke my heart, still does, just like this post of your pain in how some people reacted/react to your situation and your beautiful Maddie. I’m sorry you have to deal with this. I truly am.
UGH that is such a terrible thing to say. I am so sorry, Kim.
Truly, and thanks for using your public voice to say so. I’m only sorry you learned the truth of this in such a harsh way.
It breaks my heart and makes me so angry that others feel compelled to bring someone who is grieving down even further with negativity. What has happened to compassion and empathy and respect for our fellow man. The grieving process is such a unique thing, no two people grieve the same way.
Love and hugs.
I’m sorry some people are rude to you. You are doing great. You wake up every morning and put one foot in front of the other. That’s awesome. Just keep doing it.
I am so sorry you have had that experience. No one should be judging others’ grief…as if there is a scale or something! One of my great friends lost her husband to suicide (in front of her). It was a horrible tragedy and she was just undone. Completely wrecked. Her way of coping was by not. She started dating someone only a few months later (not seriously). I think she needed to put some time and distance between herself and what had happened before she could even begin to process her loss. She wanted to escape it. And, oh, people judged her. They were grieving and they thought she was not and that poor girl…my god, her heart was utterly crushed and her world was upside down and she was traumatized and now she was being censured for not grieving appropriately. It was so sad to see and I am incredibly sorry you have had to deal with that as well.
Oh, your poor friend, my heart goes out to her.
We are in a very judgmental society, I’m sorry to say. People judge EVERYTHING that their peers do, say, not say, not do, etc. It’s even worse in the sope of social media. My biggest pet peeve is when someone claims to be a Christian, going to church every week, posting things about how great Jesus is, and stuff like that, but then will say something so judgmental or rude, that I just want to smack the crap out of them. Maybe I’m getting more ornery in my old age. My daughter died 23 YEARS AGO, and I am still not “over” it. I refuse to have someone tell me what to feel over any situation, but I wasn’t always that brave about it, either. Thank you, Heather, for putting your feelings and thoughts out there for the world to see. You and Mike should do, feel, think, say whatever comes naturally to both of you. That, my friend, is how you move forward. Just be being yourselves. Thoughts and prayers, as always.
Yes to all of this! I had a fiesty nun in parochial school who reminded us, “Jesus didn’t judge people, and HE COULD HAVE [born without original sin —> ‘better than’ the rest of us], so y’all don’t get to judge.”
Sometimes, people forget that we are all human, on the same level. They forget to use empathy, as well as sympathy. They forget that no two people are exactly the same and have the same reaction to, say, a stubbed toe, much less tragedies.
And sometimes people are just mean and we have to figure out how to keep them away from us.
How do you move on if you don’t laugh? If you don’t go places, love, and immerse yourself in life how can you heal? No one can dictate your grief. These same people are likely the ones telling you to “get over it already”. I know this is a family blog, but all I can say is f*ck off already, to these idiots. You deal with it as you need to.
You write what I think everyday! Thank you for putting it out there Heather, because people will NEVER understand until they walk a day in our shoes.
It is truly amazing how uncompassionate people can be when you need them most, especially people you thought you could count on to be there. I lost my daughter 4 months ago and while she was ill (hospitalized)5 months before she passed , my MIL, didn’t check to see how she was doing, and when my husband questioned her, she actually said “Nobody asks me about my health”. I and my 9 year old daughter have lost two sets of mother/daughter friends because they could not understand why my daughter was acting out from her grief and decided that we were no longer suitable to be around them, this was 2 wks after she passed away. So not only do we lose our precious daughter/sister but we lose our friends too because they have no idea what grief looks like nor do they care enough to help us through this difficult time. They chose to add to our stress.
oh this is terrible. I am so sorry that you are not only dealing with your sweet daughter’s passing, but also inconsiderate people as well. I wish I could give you all hugs. xoxo
I agree completely and I have thought the same thing myself. We give so much room to children to explore life, be themselves, be imperfect. What behavior we would describe as “odd” in an adult is cute and charismatic on a child. At what point does that stop? When do we cross that invisible line? Why are we less compassionate and open-minded with fellow adults? (Not that everyone should get free reign to throw a toddler temper tantrum, accidentally steal candy or not share their toys – hopefully you know what I mean here.) I don’t get it. I make a concerted effort and it’s still not easy. I think the power of culture, societal influence and egocentrism are far greater than we can fathom. Regardless, I’m glad that you cut those people out. They are not helpful and you are a great “mentor” (Is that the right word? Maybe not.) for others going through this.
I know exactly what you mean! And thank you. I just write about this stuff because I still find great comfort in reading the words of others that have walked this path before me, and I hope I can help others feel a little more “normal” as well.
jill (mrschaos) says:
I just don’t understand how people feel they have the right to be an authority on how to grieve.
I’m so, so sorry. I am so grateful that you and Mike share with us what you do.
I was always shocked and horrified when my mom would share some of the things people said to her after my sister died. It was so awful. So hurtful. Fast forward 18 years after my sister’s death & we find my older sister now dealing with the loss of *her* daughter. Nothing has changed in the whole human nature category. There are people that are still making hurtful comments. My heart broke when my sister/best friend died. It’s been 24 years and I am still grieving. Then, my heart broke again when my niece died. Watching my sister go through this has been a very difficult thing. As much as I hurt and grieve over these losses as these two girls were important to me and very much a part of my life, I have absolutely no idea what my parents and my sister feel and deal with every day. I am so sorry that you do, Heather, even though I know your grief is yours. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself and your Maddie.
@maybe, if you don’t like how Heather runs her site, why do you read here? Why are you bullying her with your words? If you want to judge someone, look in the mirror, I doubt you are perfect either. Her words are honest and raw w/emotion.
I continue to be amazed at how grown adults treat each other – INTENTIONALLY with hurtful words. Then we wonder why children bully each other.
Heather, thank you for sharing your life with us.
I second Keri.
The internet is not a street where one can’t close one’s eyes to avoid a sign. No one makes anyone else read anything.
Vickie Couturier says:
when my aunt lost her son in a traffic accident he was 25,she told me she wanted ppl to talk about him,so she knew he wouldnt be forgotten,,so I tried to do just that bring up some memories from our childhood that I shared with him,,last year I lost my little brother to cancer,,he was the only boy an the youngest an had always been spoiled an protected by Mom an my sister an I,,he lived just afew blocks from me an next door to our mom,,so I saw him almost on a daily basis or talked to him on the phone,,he always started out”Hey Sis” his loss was 11 months after our mom passed,but his death was so much harder on me,,im still struggling with it an ppl dont understand why Im having such a hard time moving on,I cant even talk about him without falling to pieces,,im crying now,,I did go thru some free grief counciling over the phone from my husbands work that helped me a lot but im still in so much pain,,I cant even imagine losing one of my kids,so kid you an Mike grieve hw ever helps you survive,an everyone elses opinion is just like buttholes everyone has them,,I go to his grave only a couple of times,im so upset that I cant drive when I leave,,God Bless you an your family,Vickie
Momma Lioness Michele says:
Vickie – I’m sorry you are in such pain. You are in my thoughts.
I’m so sorry Vickie. My heart goes out to you. Take as much time as you need – there is no “Still” when you are grieving. It’s a life-long process. xo
Vee from SD says:
Yikes. Why does “maybe” read your blog if it engenders such hatred in her? She must be hurting deeply about something in her own life that happened…I refuse to believe that people are as mean-spirited as he/she came across. Pouring salt into an open wound…if people get satisfaction from that, then God help us all.
My friend’s brother recently passed away I unexpectantly. It hasn’t even been a month since he’s passed, yet still she rsvp’d YES for my baby shower next weekend. I know by her showing up for my shower in no way means she is “feeling better” or anything like that. On the day of the shower I’m just going to hug her tight and say “I’m so glad you are here.”
Oh, you’re a good friend. She’s probably looking forward to just getting out and doing something normal.
I get a lot of the opposite, like “you should be over it by now”. maybe, because my daughter was stillborn, she was not a “real person” to some people, so obviously, why fret about it… It’s been a year to the day since I felt her die inside me… people are getting annoyed with me, I think…
Oh Yana, I am so, SO sorry to hear about your daughter. She absolutely was a REAL PERSON! I hate that people are making you feel this way. Big hugs for you. xoxo
Oh, wow, you’re all so nice… I feel a bit guilty, Heather, I didn’t write this to take over your post about grief… I just couldn’t help it, I guess, with today being Mary’s 1st birthday and all… Thank you for validating my feelings. Thank you for having created such a great, caring community. I am thinking very often about you & Maddie and how you live day-to-day. Annie is just adorable. My 4.5 year old LOVES to watch her videos on repeat.
Thank you all, who commented. Love.
Yana, this hurts my heart to see this. Those people getting annoyed at you? Don’t deserve to have you in their life. You have the right to be sad every single day. It’s not their grief. I am so sorry for your loss and also so sorry people are so ignorant.
Yana – I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Just like Heather said, your daughter was a REAL PERSON – don’t let anyone make you feel differently. Sending hugs and strength your way.
Your precious baby is a real person, I am a Mom to a stillborn little girl so this really hits home to me. I am so sorry anyone would make you feel like you should “get over it” There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Take as much time as you need. In our case we think about our daughter everyday. Just because she is not here does not mean we forgot she was here. My heart goes out to you.
I am so sorry–both for your loss and for people’s attitudes. Of course your daughter was a real person: you spent all that time pregnant with her, so you would know!
I am auntie to a stillborn nephew–whom I loved from the day I was told about his conception and grieve for and love 3 1/2 years after his loss. Trust me, he was/is real.
You take your time grieving your baby girl. She may not be with you, but she is always yours to love!
I am auntie to a niece who passed hours after birth. I too loved her from the day I was told about her conception to today. Sending love your way, Auntie M.
Aunt to another Maddy says:
I also have a niece who was stillborn. Her name is Mary too. She’s a shadow presence in our lives – it’s hard not to wonder every so often if she’d be like her big sister, an artist, or maybe a scientist. She’d be 17 this fall.
I know you didn’t write this to tear apart the people making these comments, but I seriously feel SO angry reading this! How can anyone judge someone ELSE’S grief?! I seriously can’t fathom that. I only hope that by you sharing this, maybe someone else who felt this way will learn how much this can hurt.
@maybe – you took my breath away with your cruel comment. People are on here sharing their lives and discussing the loss of loved ones, and you try to squash it for what purpose?? Very sad. I agree with @keri – I am too often amazed at how grown adults can treat each other with such a lack of decency. Fortunately, there truly seem to be more good, loving people to turn to instead, like the people who support this site.
Heather, I understand what you mean. I have a 14 year old little sister who was diagnosed with autism when she was almost five. She had been a completely normal child up until her fourth birthday, before she started to regress due to a vaccine injury concerning the MMR vaccination. She had sweet curly hair and an infectious smile, just like your precious Maddie. As my sister regressed she stopped smiling, lost her ability to communicate, her eyes lost their spark. I was only eight so I don’t really remember much, but it must have been devastating for my parents to have to lose part of their child before their very eyes and not know what was happening. We were grieving over my sister’s diagnoses, and I still grieve today over the part of my little sister that I have lost, that I barely even remember. It was the hardest time of our life, and it still continues to be every single day, Erica is 14 but has the mental ability of a 7 year old. She has toxic heavy metal build up in her body, and brain inflammation, behavioral issues. Everyone in my family was faced with so much judgement and still are today; from our own family, friends, strangers. Many blamed my parents for Erica and how she acted. I don’t know why people do this, I don’t know what they are thinking when they say these hurtful things,when things are already hard enough, but I do know that as much judgement as we have received, there are still wonderful people out there who understand and support us through it all. A few years ago we were at a pool and Erica was playing with another little boy, my mom approached the boys’dad to make sure Erica was behaving. When she asked the dad if everything was alright he said, “Oh ya, she’s great! You’re daughter has a beautiful soul!” I will never forget what this man said, he was a complete stranger and I never even met him, but sometimes when things get really hard I try to remember that no matter what, there are good people out there who are on your side. Heather, I just want you to know that I am always on your side, no matter what. Thank you for sharing your family, thank you for writing posts like these that show how life really is sometimes. You, Mike, Maddie, Annie, and The Acrobat will always be in my heart.
Lots of Love,
I think people blame because it makes them feel “safe.” They say it’s your parents’ fault because then the same thing will never happen to them. That doesn’t make it any easier, though. I’m so sorry for what you and your parents have gone through. xoxo
Thank you for sharing this!!! It is so, so true!! No one can (nor should!!) judge the way someone else grieves!!! I like what you said about the innocence in children’s grief: they don’t worry about being judged or how they “should” be feeling or what they “should” be doing, and so their grief isn’t burdened with that unnecessary burden that adults face.
Thank you, too, for reminding people that just because someone who has suffered tremendous loss can laugh or joke at one moment, that it doesn’t mean that their sorrow or longing for the person they have lost has suddenly dissipated.
The face of grief may change over time, may ebb and flow, may be stronger on certain days and fade to a background hum on others, but a life lost changes the world forever and especially the loved ones of that person.
I hate to think that perhaps I was unconsciously judgemental prior to experiencing the death of my nephew–I hope I wasn’t! And I always hope that I don’t accidentally hurt someone when my words were meant to be kind….But to judge someone upfront & in their face over something so deeply personal as loss & grief! Heaven forbid!
I’m sorry your heart has been hurt more than it already was. xoxo
Debbie A-H (editdebs) says:
I am so grateful I found your site, Heather. You make me laugh, cry, think, and then laugh again. I know people say stupid things, and I try to give them some leeway, but it’s hard. When I had a miscarriage, an aunt asked me what I did wrong to lose the baby. I know this person loves me, but it was so hurtful. But it did teach me to be careful about what I said, that I need to pay attention to the other person’s feelings and state of mind. That I only need offer love to do the right thing.
I can’t believe anyone would say that to you, let alone an aunt! That’s terrible. I am so sorry, Debs. xoxo
People are such assholes.
I measure every Grief I meet
by Emily Dickinson
I measure every Grief I meet
With narrow, probing, eyes –
I wonder if It weighs like Mine –
Or has an Easier size.
I wonder if They bore it long –
Or did it just begin –
I could not tell the Date of Mine –
It feels so old a pain –
I wonder if it hurts to live –
And if They have to try –
And whether – could They choose between –
It would not be – to die –
I note that Some – gone patient long –
At length, renew their smile –
An imitation of a Light
That has so little Oil –
I wonder if when Years have piled –
Some Thousands – on the Harm –
That hurt them early – such a lapse
Could give them any Balm –
Or would they go on aching still
Through Centuries of Nerve –
Enlightened to a larger Pain –
In Contrast with the Love –
The Grieved – are many – I am told –
There is the various Cause –
Death – is but one – and comes but once –
And only nails the eyes –
There’s Grief of Want – and grief of Cold –
A sort they call “Despair” –
There’s Banishment from native Eyes –
In sight of Native Air –
And though I may not guess the kind –
Correctly – yet to me
A piercing Comfort it affords
In passing Calvary –
To note the fashions – of the Cross –
And how they’re mostly worn –
Still fascinated to presume
That Some – are like my own –
I love this poem but the line “An imitation of a Light
That has so little Oil” is my favorite.
I know it’s easier said than done, but usually when people make callous remarks like that, the best thing to do is figure out what kind of need is behind their remarks.
If they felt the need to say something, anything, and just said the wrong thing, there is nothing wrong with honestly telling them that they put their foot in their mouth asap. In their shoes I would want to know.
If the remarks continue as is, then there’s probably a different need behind them. Maybe they just want to get a rise out of you. In which case, tough as it is, it’s much better not to react to their behavior because (a) that way you don’t give them what they want and (b) they eventually move on to judging someone else.
Or maybe, just maybe it’s one of those people who pretty much compete about everything, including the right way to grieve (as if there was one). In which case, you might as well tell them “You’re right. You could be grieving much better than me. Now take your superiority and go stick it where the sun doesn’t shine”, and then never talk them again.
I’m sorry if your former friend was the latter type of friend.
In my experience, it’s very obvious when someone is just trying to say anything vs someone who is trying to be catty/inflict harm.
In mine, while you’re in the middle of powerful emotions it’s hard to be discerning about what is said to you, good or bad. Which is why I said figuring out people’s motives for their cruel remarks is easier said than done.
Pre-therapy, I’d always process cruel remarks as made by people because I had somehow done something to deserve it, or worse as “of course s/he’d say that, most people hate me”, and I would say nothing because I was certain I was right (two decades of undiagnosed anxiety and depression will do that to you). It took a lot of CBT to learn to take rude comments, respond to them as “that is rude of you, and you should think before you say things like that” on one hand, but also to set the comments aside for later so I could look at what happened calmly (again, because in the heat of the moment I’d automatically go to “well, I’m an unworthy, unlovable person, so of course I deserve anything people dish at me”, so of course that would mean the same people had more opportunity to be toxic later on).
My brother died almost five years ago, and I feel as though my parents were judged very much after he died. My wedding was five weeks after, and my parents wanted to go on with it. Some people wanted to talk to them about my brother that day, and they refused, they said this is a day of happiness we can go back to misery tomorrow. One person actually left the wedding because they thought it was not appropriate. Unfortunately, people are going to judge because they don’t know, part of me thinks its because they are thanking god its not them in the situation and they know how awful that thought is and have to turn their negative thinking around onto others. There is no wrong or right way to grieve, its not one shitty size fits all. I have been thinking about Maddie a lot this week and last, and you of course. Feel good and grieve the way that you need to without explanation.
Ugh, that is terrible! I am so sorry you and your parents had to deal with ALL of that during such an emotional time!
Heather, the first couple of times that you wrote something that I didn’t understand, I just reminded myself that while I know grief, I don’t know your grief.
I am glad that you experience joy, and I understand when you find yourself in sorrow. There are no “shoulds” in grief.
It made me nauseous to see that you had to feel like this. I’m so sorry you do. My son was not expected to live when he was born, and during his months in the NICU, I blogged my raw pain though it. I got the same judgmental comments, and they ate away at me. The hate was there for my pregnancy too, because I wasn’t full of sunshine about having HG from week 6 to my emergency c-section. Sometimes people just suck. If they can’t be supportive, they need to shut their dang mouths. They’ve never walked in your shoes. Even if they experienced something similar, it isn’t YOUR loss, and they don’t know.
At this point, I realize with the comments that they show more about the person leaving them than the person receiving them. They don’t get to me at all anymore. It’s silly – you’re anonymously trying to tear down a stranger on a BLOG.
I’m so sorry that you’ve experienced this too – and I know what you mean about the “not being full of sunshine” thing. I have received comments that I should just be happy that I’m pregnant. But HG is not something you can ever be happy about!
Really? I hate being pregnant, and don’t make it a secret. For some people it’s a horrible, horrible experience, and saying as much to people is something women should be able to do.
My stock response to “How are you?” my second time around is “Hate the pregnancy, love the child”, as opposed to the first time where I suffered in silence. I don’t even have HG as an excuse, I just have a really complex history of sacral injuries that makes pregnancy very taxing on my body (and I didn’t know the half of it before my first child was born), so rather than apologize to people who think I shouldn’t feel the way I feel, I ask them how happy they would be about if they knew that the process of carrying and delivering a child to term could and has physically broken them.
Having had had a spate of friends grieving in recent years, my new approach is, in my note or first contact to say “whatever you need, I’m here. You want to unload? I’m here. You want to tell me happy memories? I’m here. You want me to distract you with jokes/gossip/tv recaps? I’m here. You want to sit quietly in a movie theater and escape? I’m here. It’s all about you.” And I repeat it as necessary. It’s not perfect, but it helps set the tone that I am trying to be a no-judgement/no-conflict space for a friend.
You are a great friend and that is a wonderful approach!
My parents lost their first daughter (before I was born)to cancer when she was 2 years old. The day of her funeral, my mom showed up to work afterwards. She said everyone looked at her like she had eight heads, so disbelieving that she would be there right after burying her daughter. But she did this because she wanted to do something normal after a whirlwind of very abnormal experiences, and she didn’t give a rat’s patoot what anyone thought about that. What it came down to was this: Her grief was about HER, and not about anyone else. Even she and my dad did and still do grieve in sharply contrasting ways. Thirty years and three grown children later, they still miss and think about her every day. And neither of them regret for a second that my mom spent that day at work, and my dad spent that day laying alone in bed. That’s what they needed, and they felt no obligation to apologize to anyone for how they chose to grieve. I think you and Mike do a great job of this too. Don’t pay mind to any comments that would suggest otherwise.
I’m so sorry that you and Mike have had to deal with the insensitivity of others, on top of bearing the burden of your grief.
When I read this Dear Sugar advice column by Cheryl Strayed addressed to a man who lost his son in a car accident, I immediately thought of you and your family. I wanted to share it with you, but I thought it might be inappropriate, or that you might not notice it amongst all the other comments you receive… But your post made me think it might be worth sharing, not just for you but also so that others can get another tiny glimpse into the perspective of a grieving parent, and the enormity of their loss.
The details of your loss and that of the letter-writer are completely different, but Cheryl’s take on grief is extremely poignant: http://therumpus.net/2011/07/dear-sugar-the-rumpus-advice-column-78-the-obliterated-place/
Sending you, Mike, Annie and the Acrobat lots of love all the way from Montreal…
Note: I wanted to add that the column seems particularly relevant because it also addresses the guilt and difficulties associated with appearing as though one is “moving on” from the death of one’s child (although, of course, one never really “moves on” or “gets over it”… you simply learn to exist with the facts and experience moments of peace and joy because, well, you’re human, you need it to survive)…
This is great – thank you so much for sharing it with me. I think her response to the man that lost his son is perfect.
I casually knew a friend of a friend who recently passed away from a medical condition, leaving two young daughters and a husband behind. Her husband didn’t express his grief outwardly (he believed that she was in a better place and that God had a plan, which is a whole other thing to get into, but that’s where he pulls his strength from) and instead looked for ways to honor his wife’s memory.
People posted horrible things on their Facebook group page, about how he wasn’t grieving her enough, or “It’s only been a week, and we’re moving on?”, because he wasn’t reacting the way they thought he should.
I know there’s a huge difference between losing a spouse and losing a child, but I thought of you then – you said something once about how you don’t fall apart immediately, because you’re still in that initial state of shock and planning.
Laugh and grieve and cry and celebrate. And screw anyone who thinks you’re doing it wrong.
“How I dealt with my grief became less about what I needed and more about what I thought was expected.” You know, you are really insightful writing about your grief. And really inspiring. I don’t know if you ever considered writing something long-form about these issues, but I find your words so helpful.
My friend Ben was 19 when he took his life; I was 18. He was my mom’s best friend’s son, someone I had grown up with my entire life. He even wrote a tribute to me in his suicide note. We lived in different states, so my friends didn’t know him and they couldn’t understand how after a few months, I wasn’t “over it.” I know they were young and naive, but it hurt me a great deal. I lost a lot of friends during that first year, simply because they didn’t understand the pain I was going through.
Watching his mom grieve was the hardest part. At his funeral, she greeted people with smiles and hugs, more like it was his graduation party than his viewing. I never understood that at the time, but I do now, mainly thanks to you, Heather. I remember watching my mom and his mom laughing hysterically one minute, and then sobbing a few moments later. I was so confused by the bipolar emotions. Through your blog I’ve learned a lot about grief, and I want to thank you for that. I hope you know that Madeline will never be forgotten, as much as I hope that Ben’s mom knows that he will never be forgotten.
I so wish everyone could just be nice. Life is hard enough. The list of incentive things people said after our 1st son, Jake, and then our youngest son, Sawyer, died is way too long and painful to put into a comment. I try really, really hard to remind myself that people mean well (or at least I have brainwashed myself into believing that).
One of my favorite advice articles to bereaved parents is the following:
Sending you hope and hugs. xo
As I read about your grief for Maddie, I too realized that I cannot walk in your shoes. We all have grief and all respond differently. Even if paths are similar, your emotions are yours alone. My sister, my only sibling, died when I was young. Left alone with just my parents, my mother and I bonded.. two souls grieving together. She gave me unconditional love and we were best of friends. A few years back, she passed away and my heart has been pulled out of my chest. As she laid in her last hours, I took her hand and put it around my neck, one last love from my mother. The next year my father passed away. They both had dementia and no longer knew who I was, but it didn’t matter… I knew who they were. It was necessary to put my mother in a care facility because I had just been diagnosed with breast cancer and could not care for her, something I told her I would never do. She wasn’t there long. She had forgotten how to swallow and it was recommended that I let her go. I “killed” my parents. They both passed away from terminal dehydration, given no water. How could I do such I thing!! Everyday of my life I will never stop grieving. My day is april 10th but it doesn’t matter. I know my grieving will always with with me. I always think about how I should have done something different..The not so lovely game of “what if’s”. But it won’t change. I have lost a part of my life I can never get back. I now have no one to tell me about my growing up, what I did as a child. I find pictures and have no idea who they are. I miss my mother and my best friend so much. So how long will I grief? For the rest of my life. So it’s okay..grief. and if pulling the covers over your head and sobbing, helps you do it. It is your grief!
Beeb Ashcroft says:
Great post, Heather – you summed this topic up so well and articulated something that really frustrates me. When a celebrity loses a loved one and the press posts photos of them smiling and says, “They must not be upset that so-and-so died!!” it just makes me seethe! I can only imagine what you’ve been through with such a public loss. It makes me glad that when I had to cope with a devastating suicide in the family, it was a few years before Facebooks or blogs – I really do think it would have made it harder. It’s bad enough living in a small town and hearing opinions from strangers, never mind people on my Twitter feed.
How awful to be judged like that during your darkest hour. I learned the hard way how grief is so personal and that no two people grieve alike. My husband lost his 21 year old brother in a tragic car accident a few years ago. I was pregnant with my son and the grief consumed me. My husband grieved completely differently – he needed to go out, play sports, socialize with friends daily and almost never broke down. It affected our relationship because I couldn’t understand how he wasn’t sitting in a room crying all day over losing his baby brother, like I wanted to. I now understand he was grieving but in a different way.
Hugs – you are a strong inspirational woman. Putting yourself and your life out there will always lead to harsh comments which is a shame. I think of you and your family often and wish you peace.
My grief is like a living beast on my back. Its been 3 years since my mom died, one since my dad died and a little over 2 years that my daughter had a horrific accident, which she did make a full recovery from, and I’m just NOW starting to feel a tad normal. Losing my parents hurt—but nothing like the pain when my girl was hurt–and across the country having surgery while I was waiting for a plane flight.
You don’t know how many times I took comfort by coming here and seeing what was going on in your life. The other day you mentioned you relied on Annie to save your life at times, and I totally “got” it, as I used your writing for the same reason. I watch your videos of your sweet one and laugh (out loud), I go back and look at Maddie’s pictures (and marvel at her eyebrows!), and I know I’ll be ok.
I don’t need you every single day anymore, wonders!!, time does heal, parents are to grow old and die,~~ but I do need you.
Thank you for letting me see you bleed, as that has to be what happens when your child dies. xo, Kathy
MAYBE, it’s a good idea to do some deeper research and take context into account before you tell someone else what she is doing and why, particularly on such a tender subject. I suspect just those of us who have followed Heather’s blog for years are possibly feeling even more defensive of her than she is of herself.
I was completely heartbroken at age 14 1/2 when my grandfather died quite unexpectedly at age 70, and 24 years later I can still just cry and purely, deeply miss him. He was a wonderful father and grandfather, and from an adult’s perspective I now think that in him I found the emotional attachment of a paternal figure my own father could not give to me. Luckily, we lived 5 miles from my grandparents and I saw him a lot in the time I had him.
Anyhow, I was very hurt when my mom yelled at me and scolded me for not grieving correctly while my sister, who was 8 at the time and now barely even remembers my grandfather, was allowed to behave however she wished. His death was my first experience losing someone so very close and I was sobbing, yelling, laughing, numb, angry wreck and my mom was furious with me for not helping her in her grief. She does not remember caring about it and of course I have forgiven her but at the time it truly hurt me.
This post really spoke to me in that people really judged me when I was going through a divorce. It was, by far, the most heartbreaking thing to ever happen to me up until that point. I did a lot of crying and hiding and grieving. But I also started a business, wrote a book (about something unrelated to my divorce), changed friends, etc. You have to live in the midst of heartbreak. You just do. And that should be celebrated, or at least accepted.
I don’t know if you read your comments but after a week absent from techniolgy due to the tragic death of my 62 year old father taking his own life due to a medicine that caused some paranoia …anyways…I have been told how much strength I have…and I have also been asked why I wasn’t grieving and I told my husband how hard it is to be judged on my grieving…I read this post just when I needed it….thank you for sharing..i know its different different circmstances different realities and different pain BUT no one should be judged for the pain and the way that it is expressed…I know this didn’t make sense just needed yo utoknow this post came as a blessing to me
I’m still reading the comments! I read all of them, always. I am so sorry to hear about your father. My heart breaks for you. And I’m terribly sorry to hear that you are already receiving comments like this. You’re still in SHOCK! I wish I could give you a hug. If I can do anything for you, please let me know. Lots of love.
We are very mean, judgmental people now-a-days. I don’t know if we are just becoming void of emotion from all of the terrible things going on in the world or if the internet makes us meaner. I would never judge anyone for their grief. I try to live my life without judging anyone. I think to myself that a speeding driver might be late to get a sick child or that someone who was rude was just having a bad day. I try because I would love a world where we all give each other the benefit of the doubt, especially after a horrible, life-changing event like you have experienced.