I found this article while doing my usual blog run-through; it’s an excellent read and I highly recommend that you take the time and read it.
It also rings of a deep, deep truth.
It was a five years ago this month when I was told by my mother that no, I wasn’t her only child. I was told instead that I was the younger sister to an older half-brother who had been surrendered during the Baby Scoop Era. To say it was shattering would be putting it mildly.
I rode the roller coaster from giddy to depressed. I felt shocked and yet unsurprised. I was grateful for my mother taking the initiative to finally tell the truth and yet I was also angry that it took her so long, that it took contact initiated by my half-brother before she finally told me.
I also started to grieve. I was grieving what might have been, what I may have had that was taken from me. This made a lot of people uncomfortable.
I was told–mostly by well-meaning friends–that things like this happened for a reason. When I was in the throes of survivor’s guilt and questioned whether or not my mother would have been happier with my brother instead of me, I had a friend tell me that I shouldn’t feel that way, as “the time was right” for me to be kept. When I was at my lowest, when I admitted that I wasn’t even sure if I could consider this man a part of my family since I had absolutely no relationship with or knowledge of him, I was told that my own worries and concerns just didn’t matter. We were related by DNA and that was all that mattered.
I had never felt so frustrated in all my life. It was as if I didn’t matter. My mourning, my grieving process, my feelings on everything just didn’t matter. What these people, as well-meaning as they were, didn’t realize is that my grief wasn’t something to be fixed. It was a natural reaction to this chain of events and it wasn’t something that was meant to be repaired.
I wasn’t broken. I might have been hurt, angry and confused but I wasn’t actually broken. Yet I was made to feel this way. Nothing was wrong but I was made to feel that way.
Grief is a difficult thing: it makes a lot of people uncomfortable and they would rather not deal with it. To them, if they say the right thing they can hand-wave it away and not have to deal with it. Even though grief is a natural process, to them it is something to be brushed aside and ignored.
The same seemingly goes with the grieving person as well. Most of the time, the grieving are told “Chin up!” or “Smile!” because things “just aren’t that bad”.
Sometimes yes, it really is that bad. And sometimes, the last thing a grieving person wants to do is smile.
Now, I’m not as much as a hardliner as Tim. I didn’t suddenly decide to dump a bunch of my friends or acquaintances simply because they said something that would be considered a bit foolish. In most cases, they meant well and had no ill intentions. But in other cases, I realized that yes, a parting of ways is actually a good idea, that I’m doing myself a favor by breaking up with someone who is so blind as to not see my grief.
It’s only really been the one person but it was something that I needed to do, a necessary evil of sorts if you will. The person in question has been a friend to me for many years but now, after dealing with a protracted grieving process, I realize that it’s best if we do part. She’ll never really have the capacity or empathy to understand what I may be going through. She’ll never have the foresight to understand that this isn’t about her, that she can’t wish it away because this is now part of my life. This has become interwoven in my life experience. I’m not the same person that she knew all those years ago; I’ve changed and changed radically. The last five years have seen me questioning a lot of things in my life and I’ve matured on certain matters. Things that mattered to me five years ago may not necessarily matter to me now. It is because of this grief that I have changed both my worldview and myself.
She spent a lot of time on my previous blog to try and fix me. The thing was, I wasn’t really broken. I might have been hurt and angry but I wasn’t broken. I realize that now.
**To my friends out there, to the ones who had to deal with me in my darkest of hours, you were my Matrix. You lit the way for me and I cannot thank any of you enough. You guys know who you are. I love you all.**