I’d like to suggest that anyone who has such a visceral reaction to someone else’s journey or methods, should probably do some self reflection because it’s a sure sign you’ve got work to do. I get it, you’re uncomfortable. But it’s important you know, that it is NOT my responsibility to grieve in a way that meets your expectations.
Plenty of wonderful things have happened in my life since my child died. None of those good things erases the trauma of my child’s death. They don’t ease the pain of not being able to watch my baby grow up. Joy can coexist with pain, feelings are not mutually exclusive, and one does not diminish the other.
I share about my dead child, and my grief, because I want to, because transparency helps others feel less alone. and because my visibility believe it or not, can make a difference in the way many others not only approach the grievers in their lives, but how they may support them. Sharing openly about my child’s death has been an immensely beneficial method of expression for me as I work towards healing and growth. Having an outlet as I process it all, allows me to balance the weight of grief so that I may have room for those good things and other life experiences I mentioned.
How I choose to survive what happens to me, is entirely up to me. Someone else’s inability to face their own reality, has zero to
do with the importance of my story or the validity of my pain and healing. They can sit in discomfort, and I can choose not to cater to it.
Grieving publicly is a rather ‘new’ occurrence in our society, and being a visible griever can begin to feel like an obligation over time. We are constantly told we’re living our own experiences incorrectly, but often feel that visibility to be a dedication to our deceased child, and to others hurting, pushing us to continue sharing. Because many are adverse to change and progress, it’s to be expected that there will be an occasional adverse response, especially towards discussion of a more uncomfortable subject matter.
Social media is a great outlet for people the world over, but we have to remember that we are only ever seeing what a person has given us a window into, and assumptions are merely a reflection of what we choose to focus on. The presence of grief does noT equate a lack of bounty or worth in other aspects of life. Grief is a single facet of a person’s life, not it’s entirety. We need to shift our focus.
I think a bigger, and more reflective question for those who have anything to say about our methods of grieving and healing, would be- What have they personally done to help support a grieving person in their lives or community? In the time they’re spending, working on telling us how they think we’re living our own reality incorrectly, what constructive or helpful thing have they done that’s had a positive impact on a griever? If the answer is nothing, then there’s a much bigger issue they must work on within themselves.