Monday, August 19, 2019
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S is for Stop (and sit with the grief)

S is for stop and sit with the grief - unpacking grief

Be strong. Don’t cry. You should be happy. He wouldn’t want to see you like this. Don’t let him see you like this. Don’t cry. He’s in a better place. You should be happy. You’re lucky. Just try again. Be strong. Keep busy. Just have another one. Don’t think about it. Move on. Let go. Move on. Life goes on. Don’t cry. Be strong. I’m hurt. I’m hurting, too. Don’t make people sad. You’re making people sad. You should be better. You should be healing. Let him go. Don’t dwell. Don’t cry. Move on. Be strong.

The weight of those words, those demands on my grief and mourning, were enough to shatter me. I have no doubt I would have found myself in need of long-term, intensive psychological care if it weren’t for these words: Sit with your grief; honor your feelings.

Sit with your grief; honor your feelings.

These seven words were my refuge. I built a new home with them. I stacked my walls with everyone grieves differently and curtained my windows with there is no timeline. This is where I began to find solace, in my shelter that was fortified with words against words. I built my home out of words that gave me permission to cry and to be angry and to hurl those damn eggshells hard against the ground.

S is for stop and sit with the grief - unpacking grief

I made my bed of missing and wishing and prayers and reliving the morning I gave birth to my son and held him and saw him in his father’s arms. I made that bed. And I lay in it. And that’s how I regained life. I fed off the words of other grieving mothers. I drank of the tears that spilled freely despite don’t cry don’t cry don’t banging on my door and move on move on urging through my windows.

I sat with my grief. I was still. Not in the physical sense, because the sobs did wreck me. I was still with my grief. I was still in letting it rise like fog or fall like rain—whatever it needed to do. I breathed it in, honored it like it was my child—It’s what I had left. I breathed it out. I exhaled my mourning into words and art and prayer and intention. This is what brings me comfort. This is what saves me.

What does sitting with grief mean to you?

What does it look like? What does it feel like? How often, if at all, do you find yourself doing this?

And because we all find solace in different places, where do you find yours? What helps you cope? How do you mourn?

This post is a part of a series called Unpacking Grief, which I began as part of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.

crystal
Crystal is a mother-wife-writer whose explorations include parenting, grief, food, and semi-crunchy living. She is currently an MFA in writing student, a content editor for Still Standing Magazine, and the technical editor for Switchback.

0 thoughts on “S is for Stop (and sit with the grief)

  1. Yes, exactly!! I think of the verse that says “weep with those who weep.” It doesn’t say “help them move on from weeping.” One of my dearest friends has BTDT a few times and would sit with me (figuratively) while I mourned my son. I am glad you have found people to walk with you thru grief.

    I suppose there is a time to move from the “house of grief,” (I love that picture btw!) but it’s not for me to say when your time to move on has come. But it seems that this is what many believe a person who is grieving needs.

    1. No, it doesn’t say that. It really doesn’t. I think of Job and how his friends sat with him–that was so much better than when they decided to open their mouths. I’m glad your friend was just there with you. I think, maybe, others are just wanting us to be better and don’t realize that it actually hurts us more to try to force us to move on. (And that picture was taken through a window in my apartment!)

  2. Those first words you listed did put me into counseling, along with barbaric doctors who refused to let me hold and bond with my daughter, even if she were dead. BLM bloggers helped me so much because they understood my feelings. That includes you – thank you!

    1. Sarita, my heart always weeps for you, when I think about how the doctors wouldn’t let you hold Meredith. I’m glad you found validation in the blogging community. And right back at you, you are such a wonderful source of support!

  3. ps what helps me cope? blogging, I am so thankful to have discovered the blog community and I think I would have gone insane without it.

  4. That was poetic, very well written and it is all so true. Grief for me is like a heavy blanket that I have wrapped around me all the time, sometimes its comforting and warm but most times its very heavy to carry around and can be smothering.Every one expects me to take it off, but I cant get it off on my own, there is nowhere to put it and noone offers to carry this blanket for me.

  5. It is so hard hearing some of the things people say. I absolutely agree that we need to sit with our grief and honor our feelings. Thank you for sharing!!!

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." (Ephesians 4:29)

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