I joined a Facebook support group for widows and widowers. And while I enjoy being part of the group, I find that sometimes my experience is different from others' experiences. I often see people say, "Today was a bad day..." or "The holidays are bad..." I'm not sure why it bothers me so much but I hate using the word "bad" when talking about grief.
My Thanksgiving break was hard. I cried a lot more than I normally do when I'm at home living my everyday life. Isaac's absence hit me really hard. The space he used to fill felt so huge. I felt myself anticipating what he would say and do but nothing ever filled the space. At times I felt bored without him. I felt lonely. I felt alone. I'm beginning to understand what it means to truly miss a person. This experience let me see what I'm in for as I get further and further from the time when Isaac was alive in my life. But it wasn't bad. It was sad. It was really, really sad. But for me "bad" has such a negative connotation. I don't think that the pain I feel is "bad." It's good! I should feel this way. It should hurt this intensely. The pain reflects the loss of something great. It isn't wrong to feel this way. I feel this way because I loved Isaac with all my heart. And, I know that he loved me. It makes me sad because I know our future together on earth was going to be bright but now our future is very different from the one we had planned. And if there are days that I cry or can't pull myself together, I'm not going to feel bad about that. I gave all I had to our marriage and there is no way, no way, that I could ever turn off the grief that I feel.
Sometimes I think people talk about these being bad days because others can't tolerate their grief. I've heard many comment on how others have said things to indicate that their grief should be over or less weepy. No one should ever tell you how to grieve. One thing I see supportive people say is, "Be strong!" or "Stay strong!" What does that even mean? When someone says that in response to me expressing grief, it confuses me. I don't think sadness and longing negate strength. I'm not weak because I cry. That is a funny thing about our culture. If you refrain from crying when you are hurt, you are considered tough or strong. But if you have ever really let yourself truly feel all your emotions, without letting your emotions consume you, you will know what it is to be strong. Most of the time we avoid difficult emotions because we worry they will overtake us. And often that ends up being the case. If we put off grief, it eventually will consume us. Allowing ourselves to feel requires the courage to be vulnerable without knowing what will happen. So my goal is not to be strong for myself and my kids. My goal is to just be, just be whatever it is that I am today. But one thing I know, today will not be bad because there are no bad days.