Sunday, 18 August 2013

It struck me today how different people's reactions to loss are.
And how, the very people you think will understand exactly what you're feeling, are sometimes the ones who are experiencing things so differently that you're unable to even communicate.
Why did I expect that we would all be able to cry together, or rail together, or derail together? My 'process' so far has followed this trajectory:
Intense fear (before my Father's death) --> Acceptance and 'care-giving' --> Intense calm --> Intense anger --> Sadness and anxiety.
My Mother's journey has been so different that we have often clashed when attempting to communicate.
We are feeling different things at any given time, and it turns out what we really believe is different too.
The reason this is a problem is that we expected things to be different. We expected that we'd both feel the same way, at the same time, for close to the same reasons. We thought we knew what the other thought about death, loss, life.
Without going into the details of it, it turns out that my Mum actually feels very differently about certain things than I do. For example, I would have thought that she believes that 'Things happen for a reason' and 'No one goes before their time'. Instead, she seems to believe that my Father went before his time. Or at least, she is intensely dissatisfied with the timing of his passing, convinced that it could have been avoided.
It turns out that I believe that my Father's time had come. Period.

I don't know how to explain the discrepancy between this belief and my belief in prayer and wishing and what not. I just know, as I explained in my last post, that I knew his time had come. I knew it in my heart. It took some time for my head to catch up. But it did.
My Mum, despite a lifetime of telling me that she thinks that everything happens at the right time for the right reasons, thinks that there was something amiss in the timing and process of my Dad's passing.

The point of all this is twofold.
First, it was surprising to me that we'd think and feel so differently. Now that I reflect on it, I see how naive the expectation was that we should think the feel the same things.
I see how that expectation has stopped us from sharing our most intense thoughts and feelings during this process. Instead, we get defensive and stony.
I see that it's okay that we feel so differently.

Second, I guess if you're going through 'something' like this, I want to say in the gentlest possible way: Other people might not get it. The people you trust most to get it, might not get it. The gap between you might be too wide to cross while you're both still trying to keep your heads above water (or ever!) Forget about that for now, I guess would be my advice. Just focus on your journey and, since I believe in wishing, I will wish that you find someone who understands and accepts what you are thinking and feeling. Even if that someone is just you, alone.

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