I wrote on the 16th of November on the dreaded book of the face, how I found it distressingly amusing that in times of personal grief instead of being the lovable weird pink monster of glitter over sharing that I usually am—I lose all ability to communicate as I would normally do.
Usually, I over share. I am, as a friend once told me, much like a too enthusiastic golden Labrador retriever stuck in a human body. I want to run and jump and over-share and wag my tail and be sad and happy and all the things without a filter in my life. That leads to a lot of awkward moments, from overstepping boundaries to saying the stupidest shit at the worst times. I’ve grown to lose a lot of my filter over the years. It was a point of argument in my marriage at first, as my husband was far more used to being an intensely private individual. Where as I preferred to run my mouth at anything and anyone that would listen, or write out some of the most private things in my Live Journal (heyooo, who’s old? I’m old.) back in the day.
But when it comes to personal grief, I shut down. I don’t know how to write about it. I don’t know how to present it in a manner that makes sense nor do I feel comfortable sharing it. There’s this odd societal? or is it from mental health issues? instinct that my inner monologue says: my dude, nobody cares about your grief. People don’t want to be dragged down. Nobody wants to hear about how sad you are. Put on some pink lipstick and do something hilarious and stupid then put it online instead.
When my mother died in December, 2011, I felt my entire world grind to a halt personally, and online. For a lot of people, that makes sense. But I also found that after a few months of going through this grief I began trying to censor myself. I had the overwhelming instinct that there was a proper time period to be sad about Something ™ and then I must move on because otherwise I would drag everyone down and everyone was also very tired of hearing me go on and on about it.
When Isis died, the need to explain myself as to why I would be so heart broken and said over just a cat was also part of that Facebook post. And the need to explain why I will probably be making several posts about my cat as I deal with the loss was part of it as well.
It is a difficult thing to read about, grief. Even if it is from a source or loss someone has not specifically encountered. All it takes is having a moment of your own loss and grief, usually, to empathize. But then you might struggle with:
- Is it okay to write something sympathetic online while liking a hilarious meme post right after?
- Should I (the person grieving) even be allowed to find anything remotely funny after experiencing loss?
- How do I deal with the feelings of bitterness watching other people go on with their lives?
- What right do I even have feeling bitter about other people continuing their lives after my own loss?
- Why is this even a feeling I am experiencing?
- When is it not ok to not be ok anymore?
- When does it get better?
- Why do I feel guilt about enjoying anything at all now?
Or at least, these are the things I struggle with every single time I lose something or someone important to me. I still tear up when I think of the things my mother has missed out on. I still tear up when I think about Robin Williams, Carrie Fisher, Raven, who died 9 years ago, my first owned cats, Moglet and Bocephus, the hamsters that have gone naturally in their sleep, Mr. Chubblepenny, the overwhelming monstrosities of cruelty in this world day in and day out, too.
The only single, conclusive thing that I have learned about grief is that it has no plot point. It does not lay out like the next best selling New York Times novel. There is no beginning, middle or end in a clear, concise manner. There’s no one that is going to beta-read your grief and tell you when it is O.K. for you to cry, to laugh, to stop crying, to get up and get over it. (And if any Karen in your life, your office, your family or on social media snarks at you telling you it is time to get over it: they are fucking jerks and lying. )
Of course, I can’t tell you how to grieve. I can’t tell you how to cope. I haven’t figured it out myself.
There are only 4 definitive things I believe about grief:
- If you are starting to physically or mentally harm yourself — reach out. Please. If you’ve stopped eating, if you’ve been unable to shower for more than a week, if you haven’t gotten out of bed in more than 7 days or if you are experiencing physical symptoms…Please reach out and grieve with someone.
- You are not alone. You truly, honestly, genuinely are not as alone as your sadness and grief is trying to convince you, you are. Loss is not singular. It is wide spread, and every one of us sometime in our life will experience it: pet, parent, sibling, child.
- It comes and it goes. The worst is always at first. Most of the time, we’re wired to adapt to the loss of people and pets in our lives. We remember them, we mourn them, we have moments of deep sadness as we are reminded–but in time, we begin to function once again. We just cannot imagine it at first.
- The people who love you will understand, no matter what.
There’s no timeline to grief. It simply is. Grieve. Cry. Take care of yourself as much as you can and reach out if you need to. Your story doesn’t have to make sense, so long as you keep writing it.