Being with people who are grieving is not an easy place to be in. Many of us want to fix things and offer well-meant solutions, space-fillers or clichés. This cannot be resolved or fixed. The process of grief has no set timeline or deadline, it is always ever a starting point with a line that might fade with time but there is most likely no end point.
Personal vs professional experience
My personal experience as a counsellor working with many clients over the past years has given me lots of exposure. Yet nothing, not the training nor the experience has really prepared me for what life had in store for me on my journey with the grief of losing my child.
Grief is a lonely path to walk and many of the ‘not-so-nice’ moments and feelings are left unshared because people don’t know how to handle me and react with silence or have distanced themselves. I don’t know how to be with myself when uncontrollable frustration and anger sets in or unbearable sadness renders me incapable. I watch silently as I crumble in self-destructive thoughts.
When I’m angry or frustrated I can easily find things to project my anger towards. There are plenty of things that annoy me and sometimes unfortunately even the people closest to me are in the line of fire of my projection. It is not about them or the things they do or say that annoys me; it is just difficult right now in this very moment. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know what to say, it is being there that counts. Your support and understanding is needed. I know I ask a lot as I even if I don’t understand myself at times.
Cut in half
I feel emotionally cut in half, carrying a double edge sword: One side being happy for the twin that I have with me in physical form, the other side being ripped apart by grief and loss for the twin that I lost, the one that will never grow up with us. She was so small and her image will remain edged in my memory as I held her helpless little body in my arms for the first and only time.
The tears are shed in private. I usually keep to myself when I’m sad. That is most likely the reason why people think ‘I’m fine’. It is as if I can see them sigh in relief as they don’t have to deal with the uncontrollable reality of their own relationship with grief.