How do you mourn?

I would love to hear feedback from anyone who happens to read my blog about the question that serves as it’s title.  Some losses are immediate and final – for example the death of a parent.  Other losses just go on and on, like looking at the sweet face of my middle child every day and not knowing how to mourn what has been taken from him by the roll of the genetic dice.  Finding something as simple as a pair of pants he can work with is like trying to climb Everest.  No kid wants to look like he’s wearing disability clothes and at the same time, my darling son is wise enough to realize that if the waist doesn’t have elastic (so he can pull them down), he’s not going to be unbuttoning metal buttons or even unzipping a metal zipper on a “rockin” pair of jeans.  Neither of us want it to be that way, but that’s the way it is.  I have sensitive children, whether through genetics or from them watching my own reactions to things that come up in life.  We’re working with sweatpants for now, and it’s better (obviously) than when my husband was paralyzed around 1972.  On a scale of 0-10 in mourning this is nowhere near a 10, but this is just one issue that we have to confront.  Watching the world fall apart (seemingly) gritting our teeth through another lay off (my husband’s 2nd in three years) is much more frightening and painful.  We’ll find a solution to the clothing issue, but the lay-off, the political climate that went from hope to despair over the course of the past four years, recovering from surgery, and coping with the isolation that no one tells you about when you get a diagnosis that makes your child “special”; those are deeper cuts to the fabric of the self.

Personality has a lot to do with mourning as well, some people are better at picking themselves up and moving forward.  Their feet don’t seem to get stuck in the tarry “gunk” that sucks some of us down.  I tend toward getting stuck through a combination of genetics and the way I was raised.  Because of that, I would love to read your stories of getting over and past ongoing mourning, the kind that is a wound that never completely heals.  The most basic comfort is still having my son to hug and hold, his humor that surprises and delights us, crying together over losses, uncountable moments we experience each day.  On dark days , your suggestions may help in ways you can’t know, nor can I, yet.  I hope others may be helped as well.  This feels like a hemorrhage of grief, that slows down at times, but is gushing again before I realize it.

May your pains be bearable; may the sun come out after rain and startle you with the beauty of a double rainbow, may good news outweigh bad, and may you feel whole; held safely by a universe unimaginable in its complexity, majesty and vast distances.

2 thoughts on “How do you mourn?

  1. livingalifeworthliving November 22, 2011 / 3:14 pm

    My method of mourning may seem silly but it really seems to work for me. While I have never lost a parent or very close friend, I have lost friends and I have been heart broken and even lost my mother as a person who has been out of my life for years.

    I stereotypically mourn.

    I lock myself in my room with a box of tissues, eat a box of chocolate cookies and watch chick flicks. How I started this, I am not sure, but the media taught me how to mourn. Therefore, when something bad happens, I feel like it is the right thing to do and for me it works. I feel like I am taking the appropriate time to mourn and to reflect. Then, I go out and do something life changing so that I can feel accomplished and the reason for my mourn will not go unnoticed.

    For example, the day I found out an old friend passed away, I stayed alone and alone. Then I got with friends who I could talk with about it. Then I went on to join a club to make my life be more accomplished because this horrible event made me realize the meaning of life. This event was also the reason I decided I would have kids one day.

    Like I said, it may seem silly, but the stereotypical steps work for me, especially in big life events like death.

    • janetlandis December 1, 2011 / 8:40 pm

      I don’t think it’s silly at all. It’s resourceful, and positive! I think giving meaning to your mourning is an excellent idea, doing something that honors the person or situation you’ve lost. It does get more difficult when you have kids because you have to do your best to keep it together even when everything feels like it’s falling apart. I really appreciate the ideas, and would like to know some of the chick flicks you watch. Thanks so much for responding. It means a lot to me.

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