During these last two weeks I have felt overly judged and extremely criticized and to be honest, it has been rather frustrating. I have experienced several instances in where people's comments have wounded me quite deeply. For this reason alone I have decided to work on not allowing what people think to affect me, as they will always find it necessary to express their opinions to me. I have written this post in an attempt to vent about my feelings. I want to impress upon the importance that though I use the term "you" a lot, this post is in no way directed at any specific person. It is used lightly and as a general term nothing more, so please do not take it personal. I also am in no way trying to attack or hurt anyone with my words. Please also understand I am in no way asking anyone to agree with me, I am simply making suggestions along with asking for a little compassion. This is my truth and I hope it does not offend anyone for that is not my intention.
Please understand that I respect and value each and all of your opinions. In short, I am not asking for you to change who you are or how you feel, not in the slightest. I am simply asking you to extend me the same courtesy of not trying to change me. I am also asking that you consider my feelings as you expect me to consider yours.
Stating the obvious to a grieving parent can be very hurtful. May I ask that you please refrain from using comments such as "move on" and "life goes on" or any variation that are similar. Though unintentional it can come across as asking me to forget my darling Lilly. This I can not, and will not do. May I suggest comments that have been suggested to me such as "move forward" or "move through" I am also as stated before ACUTELY aware of the fact that the "world keeps turning", I am reminded of this fact with every breath I take. I also am very aware that I have living children to "carry on" for and "things need to be done". We are still living and I feel if you stop being blinded by your criticisms and judgments on my life, then maybe you would see that I am doing alright considering.
I also realize that the death of an infant in some way reminds people of their own mortality. I feel that this may partly explain why people find it awkward to be around me. I feel it is due to the fear that the reminder of death brings. Death simply put, is a natural part of life. We all die, that is something we all know and sometimes fear, but that is neither mine nor Lilly's fault. And I am not trying to rub that in.
My sadness may sometimes be too much for you to be around as well. Though I understand that, I will not apologize for me missing Lilly. She means that much to me, I am however sorry she means that little to you, but that is your choice. The sad fact remains that parents should not have to outlive their children, but it does happen. It has happened to me. You may be so willing to quickly "move on" so as to "forget" the pain of losing an infant, but I am not. It may be easier for you to "ignore", but I will not and please do not expect me to. In my mind "ignoring" so as not to feel the pain or "forgetting" just feels unhealthy to me. I welcome the pain because it goes along with not "forgetting" Lilly. And it is not all painful. With the exception of the moment she passed away, all my memories of Lilly, are happy ones. Looking at her pictures ALWAYS makes me smile. The sad part lies in that I am separated from her. Though I am sad she is not here with me, I am not sad for Lilly. I feel she is with God, and that alone makes me happy for her.
I have also been frustrated with how easily you all share with me how hard this is for you to watch. I do understand that you love me and are having a hard time knowing that I am going through this and in turn feel helpless. I would like to ask for a little compassion in that while this is hard on you, please understand that this is especially hard on me as well. This pain though irrevocable is real. Might I add that this pain is also still very fresh and raw. May I remind you that it has only been THREE months!
I wanted to offer a recent example of a thought that randomly popped into my head. I was watching a commercial where a young girl was complaining about having to wear her older sisters jeans, and it made me sad that my daughters will not share in this experience. Although, I have accepted that there are a number of life experiences Lilly will not have, these thoughts still do present themselves from time to time. And I believe they always will. However, though I chose to not allow these thoughts to consume my daily life as I am fully aware of the repercussion of allowing them to do so, there will be moments they will affect me more than others.
Please also know that though we were given Lilly's diagnosis at 21 1/2 weeks it has not made losing her any easier. Might I remind you that we chose not to grieve Lilly until the moment she died. The shock may not have been as severe as it would have been had we not had a "warning" and "time to get used to the idea" (as you so bluntly put it), but we still experienced shock nonetheless. I would like to inform you that I do not place my grief above or below your own and I politely ask you to do the same for me. Our grief simply put, is different.
Might I also point out that while it may be hard for you to watch us and feel helpless in taking away our pain, we had to watch Lilly die as we felt helpless to take away her pain or even save her life. No parent should have to experience that and it can in no way be related on the same level to the helplessness you are feeling. It is just not the same. I am not trying to be selfish with my emotions, or expecting you to put your feelings aside for mine, though I do feel that is what you expect of me when you "compare". I am just asking to be heard and for my feelings to be considered.
Also I ask that you please respect that this blog is for the journaling of my life without Lilly. It is a safe place to do so without feeling that I should censor myself. I fee it is my right to have a safe place to do so. It is an outlet for my emotions. This may be all too sad for you to be around and that is OK, just do not expect me to run away as this is my LIFE and I refuse to run away from the memories of my daughter. And though she was alive for a very short time it in no way makes her any less of a person.
I feel exhausted from having to reiterate that I am allowing myself to feel each emotion as they come. I feel you are constantly fighting me, judging me, criticizing me. You somehow feel it necessary to inform me that you disagree with my choices. From moving to part time, to volunteering for Rachel's Gift, to blogging. Which is mind boggling because to me it makes sense to help others, it always has. I feel I have told you what I do and do not need from you but you seem more intent on getting your point across rather than hearing my perspective. I do not feel it is much that I am asking for. I have accepted this. I am not asking you to do the same, just to allow me the right to.
I can definitely see why people may grieve in silence. The world at times is not a place where we can feel accepted and can at times be very cruel. We are judged far too often by our friends and family members even at times strangers. Its bad enough that we feel like outsiders most of the time, even in our own skin. We are in a way forced to surround ourselves with others who are unfortunately experiencing the same loss. Which then leads to judgment and worry on whether or not what we are doing is in any way detrimental to what you consider healthy. While I do not feel there is a specific way to grieve, I will say that I believe the HEALTHY grieving can be defined as those that are grieving in the way that is best for them. It is not helpful for you to express that you expect me to be any other way that who I am. I also politely disagree that you expect me to "regress" or "get worse". This leads me to believe that you want me to "regress". I should be devastated, I lost my child, could you really expect anything less than that? I will not fit the mold of what you feel grieving should be, and I feel it is unfair of anyone to expect me to.
It is sometimes difficult to hold it together without the added pressure that comes from your opinions or concerns being brought to my attention. I do not believe that any of this is too much to ask. You say that you can not begin to imagine what I am going through, you are right and I hope you never have to. I can do without your judgments and concerns to whether or not I am grieving the right way. There is NO RIGHT way and NO ONE way to grieve. We all lost Lilly and grieve for her in different ways, and I hope one day you will be able to understand and accept that. We all have unbearable sadness in our lives from time to time not even relating to the loss of Lilly. I would not expect you to get over your feelings so easily.
I have accepted and am grateful that you will never understand my grief as Lilly's mother, and surviving her as I do not expect you to. All I ask is that you extend me the same courtesy you so easily expect from me when expressing your feelings. I am also not asking for you to agree with me or accept me. Just that you simply agree to disagree. If you truly love me and care about me as you say you do, then please I ask you to trust in me.
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.