It's 9/11, again. My social media news feeds are flooded with reminders, tributes and remembrances of what happened on that day in NYC. 13 years have passed and with every one, I wince. See, I'm not good with bereavement. Grief, especially the display and outpouring of it, creates in me, a desperate unease. I tend to reach immediately for cynicism in order to ward off the threat of actually having to witness what my cynic sees as the publication of a private matter.
Why do I see grief as a private matter? Because it evokes and threatens to expose, feelings in me I would rather keep hidden. Shame, guilt, failure. If you see my sadness, will you also see my shame?
I'm lucky in life to have been afforded a relatively small piece of the bereavement pie. Certainly, I have experienced loss, both through the physical and the psychological. I have come to understand that in order for bereavement to have occurred, there need not be a corpse to mourn.
I think a lot of people struggle with this. It implies we can't feel more than one way at any one time. I have to be all guilty or all sad, I can't be both; furthermore, I must be free of all bad in order to be good.
Grief in my experience, visits upon me inner conflict, that horrible feeling of badness. It implies an inadequacy in some way, that perhaps there was something I could have done differently had I not been so selfishly tending to my own shit. It confronts me with my unlovable self..
Here is the cue to apply self love:
If I am hurting, does that not mean I care?
If I am angry, doesn't that suggest a sense of justice?
If I'm raging in my inability to tolerate cruelty, am I not doing so because I believe in kindness?
Is my resistance to suffering not a desire to experience joy?
Doesn't the frustration of helplessness imply a will to assist?
If my heart is broken, does that not mean I have loved?
I think in grief, to be left wishing I could have done more, said more, loved more, is not the bad thing I once interpreted it to be. These are not feelings worthy of shame, they are the wishes of a loving heart.
There is a lifetime ahead for me, would I rather live it thinking 'I've done all I can do'?
My answer? No.
Always, Amanda <3