I recently received a Facebook message from a stranger.
In the message, this individual expressed feelings of their discomfort over something I had been doing.
They expressed their feelings of discomfort over MY GRIEF.
It was interesting, to say the least, why a complete stranger felt compelled to share this with me. After all, for this person to access expression of my grief, they had to follow me either on Instagram or this blog, or better yet, log into someone else's Facebook account {as mine is private}.
It was clear the entire purpose of their message was to hurt. Which, if I am to be honest, it did, initially. It stung. Not only did they judge my grief, by they judged my relationship with my deceased loved one, whom they also don't know.
But quickly, the hurt dissipated. It dissipated because this stranger's opinions held absolutely no weight on who I am, or how I choose to express my grief.
It dissipated because I suddenly was overwhelmed with great sadness for them.
Sadness for their explicit lack of compassion.
Sadness for the relationships they have with their in-laws, that clearly would not invoke such grief if they were to leave this world for another, for when there is great love, there is also great grief.
Sadness for their inability to understand mourning for a blood sibling's loss of their heart and soul and the loss of their very own nieces'/nephews' parent.
I have never once asked anyone to understand the relationships between my family members and myself. I doubt I ever will, because until you have walked in our footsteps and faced all that we 10 have faced together, I don't think anyone could possibly understand.
Upon reading this cruel, heartless and selfish message, I thought, "I am sorry you don't understand my grief ..."
But I immediately stopped, because I am not sorry.
Because the thing is ... THE GRIEF IS MINE.  And I pray that the sender of that message never knows the grief that greeted me and my family on that rainy September morn. And I pray that if they do, that their sacred sorrow is never judged as they judged mine.
And let me make this clear, I do find grief of this magnitude sacred.
From my very first post, I mentioned I was hesitant to write about my grief. And I will repeat what I said then ... I have shared what I have via all platforms of social media regarding my story, my grief, my loss because the man this world lost lived a life too glorious not to share. And, I want anyone else who knows a similar loss to know, that they are not alone.
So, I will share my story as I please. When I write the story of my life, I will hold the pen. I certainly will not let the intending cutting words of another determine what I share, what I write, and most definitely I will NOT let them choose how I grieve. Because ... that grief is mine.

1 comment:

Meg said...

Wow. It amazes me that someone would criticize a stranger over how they choose to grieve. Everyone faces tragedy differently and that's how it should be. I never knew your brother-in-law, but I can see from all you've posted that he was an amazing person. You may not know, but about five years ago my younger sister lost her husband. That comes to my mind often when I read your posts about Steve. It's an amazingly difficult thing to go through for an entire family. It's especially hard to see the children who are affected by such a loss. Even those who lost an uncle and are suddenly face to face with our mortality and the idea that someone younger than their parents might die. It's even harder on those who lost a parent. Watching my nephew work through his fear that he may lose his mother, too. Wanting to be his own self but afraid to be away from her. It's hard.

Anyway, this got a lot longer than I intended. Really I want to say that I admire your strength. And, while it's difficult, the best thing is to overlook the unkind words and go on being you. Only you can decide how you best deal with your grief.

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