Thursday, April 14, 2016

On Grief and Judgment


I almost forgot that I talked about Mom last year. I really don't have anything to add to it, other than to talk about grief. A club nobody wants to be a member of, grief is a deep and multifaceted process. I've seen on social media (a cesspool, I realize, but I digress) on several occasions the rituals and remembrances of people's loved ones being criticized, including my own losses. Someone I grew up with, who sent condolences after hearing about my mother's death, later made a snide remark in response to the above-linked post that nobody wanted to read my emotional crap. Why she felt it necessary to seek likes and comments at my expense all of a sudden is beyond me. She had been out partying that night and decided to check her news feed at some point. I told her I wouldn't forget what she said, suggested she stay offline while she's intoxicated, and we haven't spoken since. In response to me posting photos on another account of my family's gravesite, someone snarked "What kind of person takes pictures of their dead relatives' graves?" That would be me, and by the way, what kind of person sits in front of a computer screen and judges others' grief?

As you can see in the photo above, there were some smiles. There were also some tears, and some really hard, horrible times. When I announced her death two years ago, an acquaintance simply said "whatever", as if I was giving her too much credit by being devastated. The woman gave birth to me. Sometimes I wish she hadn't. Sometimes I still get angry and ask God why things happened the way they did. I ask why my parents had children when they so frequently rejected us. Some questions are already answered. Others may never be, and while I do my best to move forward, I will probably never stop asking.

Let me get to the point: grief involves not only a tangible loss, but also a loss of possibilities. People mourn the death of a loved one, because they loved them. They can also rightfully mourn for what could have been, should have been, and will never be. Hope is everything, and to helplessly watch it fade away forever is life-changing. There is no reconciliation. There is only emptiness. To deny someone's personal journey with profound loss, you must either lack empathy or live an incredibly charmed life. Not understanding something doesn't give you a license to be ugly about it. Respect is a basic human right.

Here's the thing: this road is mine and mine alone. Nobody else belongs there. There may be others who are impacted, but their grief process is individual to them and mine is individual to me. Nobody gets to tell anyone else how they should be reacting or feeling or coping with death. All opinions are invalid. In a nutshell: know your place.

I am here because she gave me life. I will always miss my mama.