Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Grief? What grief?

What would you think of me if I told you that sometimes I forget?

It's not that I forget Sam, I'll never do that. But sometimes I forget that I'm 'grieving' for him.

Perhaps it's because it's been more than a year, and my mind has adjusted to the loss of Sam. I'll be happily travelling along and suddenly something will spark a memory or a thought about him. Then I'll feel guilty because he wasn't on my mind already.

Like for example, while we were in Merimbula, I was very busy having fun (I'll tell you about it in the next post). Then I'd see a bunch of teenagers messing around in the pool/at the beach and suddenly I'd think about Sam: what role he would have played in the group - the macho boy (nah), the obnoxious loudmouth (nah) or the nice boy sitting quietly talking to a couple of pretty girls (yeah, maybe).
And then I'd remember that I am still grieving, and get a little sad. But also feel guilty that he hadn't been right at the front of my mind.

When we were packing up our trailer, a big dragonfly was flying around us. We both thought it was nice, like Sam was watching over us, and that he approved of our holiday. That was the only time I felt a real pang. Yes, there had been a couple of other times when I thought about how much he would have liked something we were doing, but I hadn't felt that strong sense of loss that I would have felt months ago.

It probably doesn't make much sense to you. I don't know if I'm explaining it right, but it's happened a few times lately.

I've wondered before what the statute of limitations is on grief - how long we are 'supposed' to make public our feelings about what happened. Do I keep forcing myself to talk publicly about how sad it is for me to have lost Sam? Like some people seem to expect, and like some people still do.
Don't get me wrong. It is sad, but (and I've always said this) I want to focus on the happy memories, and on creating a whole lot of new happy memories. But if I don't talk (or post) once in a while about how sad I am, or how much I miss Sam, does it make me look heartless?

I know that everyone does this differently, and the time it takes is different for everyone, but there seems to be expectations. Expectations that I sometimes have trouble meeting.

I enjoyed my time at the coast. As opposed to last year's trip, when it was all very sad, we did not dwell on the absence of Sam much at all. What we did do was concentrate on having a great time together as a family. Our new family, that has taken some getting used to, but is starting to feel OK.

4 comments:

  1. Mel's Dad/Sam's GrandadJanuary 28, 2011 at 10:30 AM

    Dearest Girl, I have been wondering why there have been no other comments about this particular post. Perhaps it's because your friends and followers are having a hard time in thinking what they could or should say to you. Nobody wants to say "get over it" because we never do, but what you have done in the months since Sam died is put all,(or most), of your feelings out there, and that has helped you. The other thing to think about is that in doing that, you have helped so many other people express themselves through your post, and that's got to be a good thing, both for you and for them.
    As far as limitations for grieving are concerned, that must always be an individual thing, and something only you can "own" because it reflects the way YOU feel.
    It doesn't have to be the same for everyone else, simply because we ARE all different, and we express ourselves in the best way we can.
    I believe the "hurt" does lessen over time, but that will never mean we stop thinking about people who have left us.

    You don't necessarily have to 'post' every day, but you have to continue posting, because we all look forward to them. love, Dad

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  2. I have been planning to come back and comment after reading your post, but what you have written really made me think and I wanted to reflect a bit before writing anything.

    A few years ago, one of the 17 year old boys at my children's school had a brain aneurysm and died. Totally unexpected and devastating for his family and friends. I remember thinking at the time - how does his mother keep going each day? How does she do mundane things like take a shower or brush her teeth when she has to deal with something like this?

    I ran in to her several months later and we had a wonderful talk about how she was going. She said that it had been so incredibly hard to keep going, but each day it got a little easier - the pain wasn't quite so fresh, the sense of anguish not quite as strong when she woke each morning and then remembered that he was no longer there.

    She said what kept her going was knowing that he wouldn't want the rest of her life to be miserable. He loved life and he would want her to love life. She said some days were still incredibly hard, others weren't so bad. With the good days sometimes came a sense of guilt, but she was working through that as well.

    You son was so lucky to have a mother who obviously loved him so much. I'm glad that you are being good to yourself and still enjoying your life and family, taking moments to appreciate what you still have.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. It was encouraging to read.

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  3. Thanks for the wonderful comments. Very much appreciated.

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  4. You are a very brave, strong lady who has realised it is better to remember the good times and live the life Sam would want to see you live, rather than dwelling on something you can not change. I'm sure there are a lot of people out there who wish they could take a leaf from your book.

    The expectations you talk about are other people's expectations, but the grief is not theirs... do what works for YOU and your family, do not step backwards just to match what others THINK should work.
    Jo

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