/So often when we are grieving we can feel as if we’re far from normal. Like other ‘first’ times in life, a new baby, a new job, a new marriage everyone has an opinion. When our life has been devastated by grief, the “you’re not normal” critics come out in force. We might be doing things and saying things which friends and family think are downright odd. And so they worry, and they’re more than happy to share that with us. “Why are you still crying?” “You should be over it by now.” “Don’t you think it’s time you cleaned out her room?”
Somehow who we are and how we are grieving is not OK. It seems by other people’s standards we’re not normal after all. There’s something wrong with us. The seed of doubt has been planted in our mind – maybe we are crazy, because it sure does feel like it sometimes.
Along with feeling that we’ve lost the plot to the story of our lives, we also feel so lonely and so very alone at a depth that is beyond measure, beyond belief. Not only have we lost the person we love with all our heart, but we’re being told to not grieve for them in the way that feels right for us. In our fragility and vulnerability there is no one who understands and it seems that we are struck down with the force of all we have to bear.
It is so very painful to feel that way but in actual fact what we are feeling is likely very normal. No two people are the same. No two people love the same and no two people grieve the same. Your grief is your grief and how you deal with it is yours to decide alone.
For someone whose heart is aching to hold their loved one again, you are likely very normal if:
Out of the blue you smell them. It’s so ‘them’ it’s as if they were here.
The only way you can fall asleep is in front of the TV.
You are so angry at everyone, even at your loved one – for leaving you.
You think you’ve done something wrong because your friends don’t come around or contact you anymore.
You get excited about signs – butterflies, coins, rainbows, etc.
You feel stupid when you share your story with someone who doesn’t understand.
You can’t remember how to do things you’ve done hundreds of times before.
You can’t bear to wash that t-shirt, that sheet, that special toy.
You’re dreading the holidays when everyone else is excited.
You find it hard to be around people who have what you have lost, it hurts so much.
You are fiercely possessive of your loved one’s things.
You think you will never stop crying.
You have no interest in anything – you’re on autopilot.
If someone asks you what you’re doing next week, you can’t even comprehend next week. You are living one minute, one hour at a time.
You talk to your loved one every single day.
You are sure you hear them sometimes.
You kiss and hug their photos.
You follow someone down the street because you are convinced it is them.
You’re thinking about the anniversary months ahead.
You can’t bring yourself to go to the cemetery.
You panic when you can’t remember their face.
You’re at the cemetery every day.
You call their phone and hope for just a moment they’ll answer.
If anyone else asks you how you are you think you’ll scream.
You hope it’s a bad dream you’ll wake up from soon.
Everything is exactly as it was in their room.
You walk into a room and the longing for them hits you like a bolt out of the blue, they are everywhere.
You think your family members may be from another planet – their grief is so different to yours.
You don’t feel safe when you drive the car anymore, since your brain is in a fog.
Many, many years later you cry at some little thing and wonder why after so long.
You remember the time, the day, the week, the year totally and absolutely.
You worry yourself sick about your family now.
You so wish someone could understand.
Maureen Hunter is an inspirational writer and grief steps mentor giving comfort and hope to many. She is passionate about helping people to step through grief and build a new and different life after loss, one in which their loved one is always a part of. She’s happy to share her free ebook with all who grieve.