When I see folks lamenting over the way things "should" be or "could" be or "would be if..." I understand, but I also remind them - and myself when I fall down the rabbit hole, that comparison is the thief of joy. We can peer across the fence all we want, the only point of reference we REALLY genuinely have is our own. Not to invalidate the wisdom and experience-based advice we receive from others. But when you start taking other people's experiences, and judging by the moments captured in posts and photos on social media, that's where we can get into trouble.
If you look at someone and think they are handling grief better than you are or than you could, please know that many times people are in the same boat, and many times in a more rickety boat than you! Everyone is just trying to put their best foot forward. I will use myself as an example since all I hear lately is how amazing and strong I am . . .often times I feel the exact opposite.
If you see me on the go in the morning all dressed up dropping my son off at school - looking like a working woman on the go... please know that often times, one, some, or all of the following have happened.
- I am 25 minutes late for work.
- The before-school program I pay a pretty penny for has already dismissed. (add cancelling the service to my list of a million things I must do).
- The sandwich I planned on making for Marcus' lunch now has cheese ONLY because he ate the last of the lunch meat, and I didn't find out till this morning.
- His lunch is in a Ziplock bag because for the second time he has misplaced the nice lunchbox I purchased for him.
- Hoping yesterday's deodorant application lasts through today, because I did NOT have time shower - only time to wash my face and hit the hot spots LOL (TMI? too bad).
- I cried on the way to work - or in the bathroom once I got there while remembering how my husband and I used to tag team this thing, and how much I miss the ease and slack his help provided when I fell short or was unable to make it some place on time. It hits me hard that I did not choose single parent hood (not that anyone ever CHOOSES it, but it was not a DECISION I had to make). Anger eclipses the sadness when I start to feel that I have been handed a bum deal by life. Rage enters when I start asking why.... then more sadness when I realize, I may NEVER know why .... I continue to have an abiding faith that acts as a cushion when I hit the shore after riding a grief wave, but it doesn't kill these feelings that come.
...Anyhow, that's just ONE example of not judging the book by its cover. Life is whooping my ASS right now, but I choose to find some good in it. MLK day was this week, and a certain refrain from him resonated with me: unearned suffering is redemptive. I hang on to that. If nothing else, it helps me get out of bed every day, just to see if that pay out will occur. But don't look at me, and think I'm special (not to assume you did, but if you do)... I am a mess right now... just trying to make it day by day. But something in me tells me that there is a purpose for this mess. I don't know what it is... it makes me mad that loosing someone I treasured would even equal some sort of redemption story for me, because I want my man back... I wish my second son stuck around. But since they cannot come back in earthly form, I have to believe I am going through the pain of surviving their loss for some reason beyond my comprehension right now. Please know I stand with you in the mess. Let's see what awaits. Answer below if you feel like it... have you ever compared your experience with grief to others?