I haven’t written a blog post in a while. I just haven’t felt like it; I haven’t felt like doing a lot of things, to be honest. I am sad and angry, and I have reason to be. Being both sad and angry about losing my mom are very normal feelings and it hurts me when people say things like “It could have been worse” or “Think of all the things you have to be grateful for in your life”. Okay, sure, I can think about those things, but it doesn’t take away the pain and all the bad memories of her suffering and dying in a hospital bed with limited visiting. It also doesn’t take away the fact that her physical symptoms were discounted and said to be related to her mental health for months before she was finally sent for testing. Hearing statements like the ones I mentioned time and time again only makes me, and others, feel ashamed or guilty for the way we feel. I understand that most people have good intentions, but these statements end up discounting how the person who has experienced a loss feels.
Stages of Grief: Not a Linear Process
I’ve learned that everyone goes through different stages of grief in their own time and sometimes people get stuck in a certain stage for a while, move backward and repeat specific stages. The process of grieving is certainly not a straightforward path. It can involve stages of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and eventually some level of acceptance (Slay-Westbrook, 2017).
I alternate between anger and depression currently, but feelings certainly vary from day to day. And that’s okay. And listen to this amazing factoid (insert sarcastic tone), I can feel this way (angry and sad that I lost out on an additional 20-30 years with my mom) and still be empathetic about what others out there are going through! I am tired of people trying to make everything a competition, like “my pain is worse than yours” or “those people are worse off than you”. Talking about our negative feelings does not mean we are ungrateful for what we have and unconcerned about the difficulties of others who are less fortunate than us.
Slay-Westbrook, S. (2017). Respect-focused therapy: Honoring clients through the therapeutic relationships and process. Routledge. ISBN:9781138906907 https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=sso&db=nlebk&AN=1360445&custid=s7439054