If you are reading this particular blog post then I have had the courage to publish it rather than just keep it hidden away.
I may just need to rant, but I was so upset today. I am glad in a way because it has made me have a long hard think about why I take comments about “moving on’” and “deserving some happiness” so badly. They are intended to comfort, but for me have the opposite effect.
I am not in the least bit surprised that people who pluck up the courage to talk to someone who has suffered some kind of horrific event get nervous and perhaps come out with well meaning clichés. I would firstly like to personally thank those people for having a go, you hearts are quite obviously in the right place. The problem is, trying to enforce someone to think positively who is still in shock and feeling such raw emotions will sadly only serve to direct their rage at you or themselves (I am the latter).
Today had been a good day. When I say good, I should clarify what this feels like. Have you ever skipped a meal, and felt so hungry that although you can still function, conscious or unconscious, there is something nagging away at you constantly? It distracts you from what you want and need to be doing. A feeling that makes you edgy, with a short fuse and actually possibly even crazy until you have fed the hunger and returned to ‘normal’. The problem with grief is that there is no snack, no meal great enough to calm the heart and the mind so it is there, always, a constant feeling you have to learn to function with as best you can, but always lurking even during ‘good’ times.
I felt joy when I took baby Flynn and Jesse for a walk to some local woods. It was a simple and peaceful time with nature. Jesse is such good company, as Skye was, and we chatted much of the way. I encountered an overwhelming feeling of wanting to give him the life I had dreamed of for Skye and had a rush of feeling brave enough to take him to watch Daddy umpire a cricket match at school later in the day, remembering how much fun Skye had had, as a four year old watching the big boys and serving the half time orange slices.
After a Charity appointment I had to keep, sun shining, I joined Jesse pitch side and started throwing him some overs. It wasn’t long before I got ditched by Jesse, in favour of the ‘big boys’ who were obviously more cool to practice with. Flynn and I sat playing, minding our own business when I was joined by some other spectators. The conversation should remain private but although I felt I had had a very constructive day for the family and for the Charity, I must have ‘dropped the ball’ at some stage during the conversation because the phrase “you really deserve some happiness” and “one mustn’t live in the past” were said. I usually attract these comments more if people sense my sadness and respond by trying cheer me up I suppose, so in public, I try to sound cheerful as best I can to avoid these kind of comments.
I used to be a ‘fixer’ too, a glass half full person, and I would love to still think like that but I have been changed. When someone says to me “it is time to move on” or “one can’t dwell on the past”, I think the only person actually benefitting, is the person saying it because it makes them feel better, willing to see you happy again. It is very natural to want to help ‘fix’ someone who is in pain but this is NOT the way to do it. It takes as long as it takes to heal and maybe I never will. How about this for a late night analogy - allowing a fragile egg to stay safe, warm and away from danger so it can hatch and a chick emerge, able to walk by itself is surely much better for it than rolling the egg down a hill because it will get from a. to b. faster but most likely crack on the way?
Back to the Cricket - as you can imagine, I smiled, didn’t reply and politely made my excuses to leave. I took three wrong turns on the way home and burst into floods of tears when I made it back to the sanctuary of our home.
Of course, I know I am over sensitive and I project what I think others may think of me far, far too much, but I take these comments as an indication that I am failing to do what I ‘should’ be doing. I really am trying to be a better person and I disagree with the saying “put the past behind you” because the past is what shapes the future good and bad. Every day I fight internal feelings of such hopeless loss and pointlessness of living but actions speak volumes too. I am trying so very hard to bring about positive change with our Charity and it takes a massive amount of time, energy and effort to rally supporters to help with fundraising events and encourage people to engage with Blue Skye Thinking. I am not sitting at home, withdrawn and cut off from society however appealing that is. I am fragile however, and have every right to be, because I defy anyone who could watch their own child die in their arms cope any better than us. Let us be sad when we need to be sad –please. Support us but don’t try to ‘fix’ us.
We all know the saying ‘one gets what they deserve’. Of course no one would ever suggest that Skye ‘got what he deserves’ but saying to us we “deserve some happiness” always makes me feel upset, guilty and angry. I have come to the conclusion that actually no one "deserves" anything, good or bad. We can work hard and strive to achieve goals or adopt a more passive approach in life, neither being right or wrong. I still believe in being pro active, but sometimes life events unfold that are out of our control and are certainly not a case of whether we deserve it of not. What do you think?
Perhaps in future, if you find yourself wanting to say "you deserve...." to anyone who is grieving for a loved one through death or even for the end of a marriage, try replacing it with “I would dearly like you to be able to find space for some happiness in your heart”.