This hasn’t been the best of weekends. It ought to have been. We attended a family reunion on Saturday and Sunday we attended church, a baseball game and a concert. It was a weekend wherein I was surrounded by people I love and who love me. But it was also a weekend where I hid from grief. I ignored it and pretended it wasn’t there, and I’m very good at that – a real queen of denial. And then I’d turn a quick corner and it would jump out at me, forcing confrontation. I’m not good with confrontation.
Grief is scary – it’s so much easier to pretend something isn’t lost, someone isn’t gone, than to acknowledge that loss and grieve over it, process it and come to terms with it. I’m not saying it’s better. Actually, it’s terribly worse in the long run. It’s just easier in the short term. And so I see my grief and I stare at it like a deer in the headlights. I don’t know what to do! I cry. But then I stifle the tears as best I can, as soon as I can. Crying is messy, and it lets people see you’re wounded. Don’t we all just hate to show our wounds? (oh, no, I’m fine, it’s just a scratch, just a bruise, just my pride, it’s just silly. But I’m fine. Really!) Maybe that’s only me.
I’m very good at evasion. After I recover from my deer-in-the-headlights stare and quick sniffle, I turn right around and head the other direction. Nope, I don’t see you, and that didn’t happen, I’m going to pretend you don’t exist until you go away. And most of the time, it works. Until…until it doesn’t.
Grief doesn’t go away. Eventually it may tire of jumping out at you at random intervals, but that doesn’t mean it’s gone. It means it has decided that patience is a virtue. Grief will lie down and rest until another loss rouses it and brings it to the surface, letting it out to play “Here I Am!” again and again and again. Only this time, it’s bigger, and scarier, because you didn’t deal with it properly the first time (or the second or the seventh).
This weekend, I may have played the Denial game, but this week, I will begin the process of dealing with loss. It’s scary, and it’s messy (because I don’t deal well with this animal), and I am telling you now that I am wounded. I am not okay, and I am not fine, no matter that I will probably tell you I am. I hope being a grown-up and letting you know will be the first step to processing this grief. I may dissolve in tears, I might lash out at you, pick a fight for no reason. Please understand and love me anyway. I may hug you and tell you I love you, even if we’re not that close. Bear with me – I’m processing. I want you to know you’re loved, just in case.
Okay, that pesky grief just jumped out at me, so I have to go cry now, before I turn my back on it for another few hours. The week doesn’t start until tomorrow.