Wednesday, February 24, 2010

zing

A few months ago I finally got my "zinger" comment, and it decreased my desire to share my feelings here like I used to. It stirred up thought patterns and feelings I had long ago worked through, and it took months to get anywhere near the progress I had previously made. Its still shocking to me how one, single, judgmental comment can utterly destroy you when you are grieving. I still tried to write often, but didn't end up publishing a lot. I would be so stressed out and frustrated, trying to make it censored and unoffensive, and "okay".  And finally I'd just forget it because I was too afraid of being judged, misunderstood, or criticized.

It added a layer of difficulty to my progress...my writing was, and still is, a source of healing for me. Being able to write down the feelings that plague me, somehow helps to free me from them. I've also gained some great friends and confidants through my writing. It helps to not feel so alone. And one of the tiny, tiny positives of this experience is being able to express the things that others cannot, and helping them to heal, too. However, I finally realized I had been writing for all the wrong reasons, or should I say to all the wrong people?

At first, I started writing to try to help my friends and family understand what I was going through. I thought that if I could somehow make all my senseless thoughts and feelings make sense to everyone else, then it would be easier to accept them myself. If I detailed the grief process and quoted books and proved that this was all normal, then everything would be okay. I would be okay. So whenever it seemed like other people "got it", I felt validated. (If they get it, then I must be normal, I must be "okay"...right???) But then I'd get one of those judgmental "zingers", and I felt like a failure. Like all the things I feared, and everything I thought everyone else thought about me, must be true. (If I can't make them see it, then I must be the problem, there must be something wrong with me...) And all my progress would come crashing down.

This week I discovered how my writing truly helps me, and strangely it wasn't through writing, it was through reading. I was on a friend's online journal reading about the night her daughter died, and some parts of it were so similar to the night Gavin died. It was like stabs of pain into my heart to relive it through her words. But somehow, even through the hurt, I felt an overwhelming gratefulness that she had shared it. I was about to comment, "Thank you for sharing your story..." when I stopped and thought "Why am I thankful when it brought up painful reminders for me?" I eventually realized that through sharing those details, she was allowing me to share her most sacred experience. She was allowing me to connect with her...to share our pain, our loss, our grief. I felt love for her...this woman I've never met, never spoken to face to face. For a moment, I didn't feel quite so alone, and with that came a small amount of peace...and for that I was truly grateful.

I realized this is why I write...not for those curiously peering in from the other side of the looking glass, but for myself and others who are grieving a loss. That's where my real healing comes from. I write to validate our thoughts and feelings through our shared experiences. To create connections. To make friends. To heal together.

It has lifted such a heavy weight from my shoulders. I don't need to prove to anyone else that I am actually doing quite well in processing my grief and that, yes, its "normal". I don't need to make anyone else "get it". Those who love me, will love me whether they "get it" or not. They don't need to know why, they just love me anyway. And if others are judgmental and unkind, its not because I am failing or because I didn't quote enough sources, or because I haven't made the grief process quite clear enough for them. 'Cause, you know, I'm a bit busy grieving over my son, and that's what books are for!

So, going forward I hope my writing will again be a source of relief for me, without all the added stress. I'm writing for me. I'm writing for my angel baby mommy (and daddy) friends...those I already know and love, and those yet to come. And if it happens to help anyone else, then that's just icing on the cake.

12 comments:

Sharon said...

I have missed you and your posts. I know that you don't write them for me (nor should you), but I hope that you will continue to update your blog with whatever you want to write about! If anyone has a problem, then they can mind their own beezwax and find other blogs to read.

We love you guys and hope that you are doing well. Give our love to your hubby.

lucydeaton said...

Thank you for writing for you. Grieving is different for everyone and no one should be judged in the manner in which they grieve. Bless you and your family.

Evanstown said...

This is such a beautiful post. I agree with you, reading what other "angel families" are going through does help me work through my feelings, no matter how painful they are.
Thanks for sharing.

Andrea said...

Bethany:
Thank you for this wonderful post. I can't tell you how much you have helped me by being so honest about grief. There have been things that you have said that I wasn't able to publish. It has been such a comfort to me to know that I'm not alone in what I'm feeling and thinking. I will always be grateful for your honesty, for all the many things you have said and expressed. Thank you. Sending my love your way.
Andrea
Wyatt's mommy

Ryan and Angie Dana Family said...

Your writing has always given me great learning. Your story does more than help those who are also grieving. It gives great perspective, compassion, gratitude, and love to those who aren't.

Matt and Staci said...

I'm sad someone said something to you that made you think that way. Do what YOU need to do(including writing!)...whatever makes you feel better. And I am also thankful that you share, because while I don't know what you are going through or how you are feeling, I feel like I can understand an inkling of what you are going through & I KNOW you are helping others in similar circumstances. Love you!

Janell said...

It's interesting how comforting validation is, and how much we all need it in our different stuggles. I am so glad you have a community of people who truly understand and validate your feelings. I'm sorry to hear you got such an insensitive comment. And even though I know you write mainly for yourself and to help others in your situation, as someone peering in from the outside, I am still grateful that you share your perspective.

Erin said...

Good to hear from you. I will never forget reading pages and pages of Gavin's story on the tiny screen of my cell phone just hours after my daughter died. Thank you.

The Giffords said...

I can't believe that someone would write something mean to another person on their blog. If they don't like it, then stop reading.

I am grateful to you for writing and sharing your feelings. It does help us to understand where you are coming from better. However, even if you didn't write we are here for you. We love you no matter what for ever and ever! I miss you!

Eldredge Family said...

Hello Gavins Mommy,

I want to thank you for your understanding of my thoughts and feelings. My son passed away almost a year ago in March. I have turned to your blog so many times to help me during this most difficult time in my life. I have been so grateful to read other Mothers blogs that have lost children. I feel that I am not alone. I see that they where good LDS people and the Lord was not punishing them by taking their children home. I do not mean to ramble on and on. I just want you to know that your words have been a great source of comfort for me.

Love your Sister,
Crystal

I have 2 blogs
spencer-crystal5.blogspot.com
sagelawrenceeldredge.blogspot.com

larsen family said...

I love reading your blog. You put feelings into words that sometimes I feel I can't. You are honest and I love it. It is nice to know that I am not the only one that has to travel this journey. You have helped me many times during my gieving. I'm thankful for your friendship.

Thanks,
Jen

nancy said...

bravo. well said. beautifully said. opening our hearts and sharing our pain is always a risk because not everyone can understand the language of grief. for those who do, the sharing tells us we're not alone...
someone understands. for me this is like seeing a candle in the darkness. God bless all those who walk with us, lighting the way with their candles as we journey on. xo