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Welcome to My Blog

Life with young children can be challenging, but with the support and advice of friends, we can feel empowered and thankful for the blessing of being a Mom.

My musings are those of a self-proclaimed attachment-parenting Tiger mom, who juggles full-time mommying with a small (but growing!) baby-related business. I hope some of my thoughts help you
Enjoy your day, Enjoy your night, and Enjoy your kids!!!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Clarifying Grief

After hearing a few responses from my post "Permission to Grieve," I'm adding more definition and clarity to the idea in this post... and perhaps I'll even add more, as needed...

First, note the term "grief." According to psychological accounts and studies, the parent of a child with a life-threatening illness is mourning a loss. To many, this may sound odd - we commonly mourn a loss only after a person's death. But consider: when we are mourning a person's passing, we are actually mourning the loss of life as we had expected it. When an elderly parent dies, his child will mourn the loss of future opportunities together. In other words, we are not actually mourning the death. We are mourning that our future will not be as we had hoped/planned. Likewise, a child whose life is threatened is no longer going to enjoy the future we had planned for him/her. Our lifestyle is dramatically changed, and we are mourning those dreams and hopes that will possibly/probably never come. We mourn our loss of innocence, and we face the daily/hourly painful and persistent thought of "how long will s/he be able to do this with me?" along with a sense of loss that we cannot protect our little one from the severe pain and suffering s/he must endure. We are grieved. We are in mourning.

In considering how to best illustrate what Permission to Grieve means, I find it helpful to quote our friend Alan Gong who eloquently expressed in his own recent post on his daughter Janie's CaringBridge site. Reading below should help clarify:

"Don't bring me flowers to my funeral, bring me soup when I'm sick."
- Jalen Rose

This journey has been a lesson in honesty for me. The painful process of learning to be honest with myself and honest with others, something I've been conditioned not to do at great cost to myself and those around me. But suffering has a way of bringing the humility needed for that kind of honesty. 

It's been challenging to be honest about what we've needed and how to ask for that help.  What we need is real community[...] We don't need inspirational Bible verses, attempts to reason why this is happening, or suggestions on how to treat[...] We need people willing to help carry the weight of this burden. People who will welcome us into their lives as opposed to just stepping out of it to check in on us once in awhile. We need people willing to hurt with us, not feel bad for us. We need compassion, not pity.

There is nothing anyone can do or say that will make anything about this situation better. Nothing will make the load any lighter. But when others get underneath with us and help bear some of it, the load starts to become easier to bear. Just showing up is enough sometimes. I believe this is what God intended for community and relationships. 

I don't know how universal these feelings are, but in conversations with others dealing with suffering like ours, it appears to be common. Suffering is a lonely feeling. I feel no one understands nor would they want to get close enough to the pain to be affected. That because this is such a long and uncertain journey, nobody could endure it with us for want to go back to their own lives. Our culture tells us to seek pleasantness and security and comfort. It's counter culture to accept suffering. So why would someone willingly suffer our pain with us?

This is not meant to cast blame or guilt. We're very thankful for everyone who has reached out to us over the past year. I believe your hearts intent was and is to truly help us and just by letting us know we're not forgotten, you have. We also just weren't capable of asking for the help we needed. But we're working on vulnerability and this is part of that. 

As expressed above - Permission to Grieve is about honesty and pain. It's about willingness to acknowledge life as a struggle and not shying away from the tears. 

It occurred to me that Cult-of-Optimism embraces the classic "glass is half full" paradigm. What is overlooked is that to every half-full, there is by definition a half-empty! For some reason, our society refuses to talk about the half-empty - refuses to acknowledge that half-empty as a reality. 

Think about it.

As always, welcoming your comments and replies.

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