Thursday, November 4, 2010

Grief and loss

If you've kept up on my posts you know that one, I haven't been writing much and two, I recently lost my dearest friend, who died in her sleep.

Grief is a strange and mysterious condition; there is no right or wrong way to grieve and each person reacts differently. This is certainly not the first time I've gone through the grieving process, but added to the other stressors in my life it is like the weight of the world. I'm not sure if I'm doing it well or not. I've cried - a lot, I've prayed - a lot, and I've been angry. Very angry. And who I am angry with is the family of my friend and the way they are reacting to and dealing with her shocking death and formal arrangements. They've included me quite a bit which has been an honor, and although it wears me out I know I must do this for my friend. What's making me angry is how little they knew her; how little they seemed to care and how laissez-faire they are handling things. It's as if they just want to get it done quickly and have this all behind them. All, with the exception of one sister who has been communicating with me on a daily basis and she feels the same as I. It's just so puzzling.

Last August I spent a week with my friend at her family cabin in Michigan. We were talking about our childhoods and I mentioned how few adult women I knew had what they would consider a wonderful childhood with a happy, loving family. My friend said, "I did. I cannot think of one negative thing in my childhood. My parents were wonderful to each other and to all of us; they were openly loving and supportive - I could not have asked for more." I was so happy to hear that as it seems as though most of my female friends could not say the same. And yet, her parents are both deceased and her family is terribly dysfunctional. So...having a solid foundation does not guarantee a happy, functional adulthood. I find this quite intriguing.

I recently read Elizabeth Edwards' book Resilience, and she's a woman who has been through a lot more than anyone I know. It seemed her good family foundation was the bedrock of her perseverance. I don't have any answers and I'm completely lost for an explanation of any of this stuff. I only know that I'm doing the best I can right now and the last 2 weeks have been extremely difficult.

One thing about my chronic illness that is salient in this discussion is this: I do not want to be treated like a baby and have people tiptoe around me as though I'm this fragile person about to break. People do that when you are ill and it is infuriating. While I'm sure they have good intentions...PLEASE do not do this to anyone you care about. Be transparent. Talk openly and honestly. Don't think you are protecting someone by keeping secrets. It all backfires and makes grieving much more difficult. Yes, I am sick but I can handle it.
And I miss my friend...terribly; I want her back. I was not ready for this and it's so hard to accept.