Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The ones left standing

I'm on a little bit of a blog break since I haven't been feeling well, but I wanted to throw this thought out there...

Often, in grief, we end up losing a lot of people in our lives: those who are afraid and don't know how to act around us, those who think we should be "moving on" faster than we are, those who are just too self-involved to care, and those who don't do well in crises. Sometimes, we're not left with many people standing after the ashes have settled.

Just because they're left standing, though, doesn't mean that they're good for you. Sometimes, the ones left standing are't necessarily there for the right reasons. We talk a lot about the people who abandon us, but what about the people who didn't abandon us but stuck around and made our grief a little worse?


I am one of the world's worst for hanging onto people way past their expiration date. It's hard for me to let people go, even when they clearly need to be gone. In grief, it can even be harder to do this-especially when it feels like everyone else has gone. If there is someone adding to your stress or heartache, though, it's beneficial to try. When you're at your lowest, it's not easy to muster up the confidence you need to cut someone out. But if you can, then do it. 

4 comments:

Jayden's Mommy said...

Good advice. I'm not good at getting away I always give the benefit of the doubt that they just didn't mean to hurt me more. However, my husband is great at saying enough and helping me stay away. Thanks. I hope you are feeling a little better.

Rebecca said...

My husband is the same way. He's the one who shrugs and says, "Just walk away" and then makes me feel less guilty about doing it.

Feeling a little better. The worst of last week is over anyway. :-)

Susan said...

I think this is a really difficult one. I suppose the problem is that when a child dies so many people run for the hills, you are almost left feeling grateful that anyone did anything at all. You do end up feeling at least they tried.. is it perhaps that the average standard of behaviour is so bloody low, that you can be fairly crap, and still be one of the better ones?

One of the ladies from the church invited my husband and I to dinner shortly after C died. It was a really kind thing to do. It made a material difference to how easy that day was, and it was comforting alsoto know she cared. Hardly anyone from the church did anything to help at all - out of 100s of people who knew us - so she sticks out. However, she has all the sensitivity of a brick, and keeps comparing my almost-4 year old's death to her ectopic pregnancy 40 years ago - or telling me I have to be strong for Miss M - or that God has a f**king plan. So generally, I want to kill her.. but she clearly means well....

Another example - my next door neighbours - we live in a terrace, so we are up close and personal - sent me a card the first Xmas that said "Thinking of you". That was nice. Some a**holes sent ones wishing my merry xmas etc. However, my neighbours (who have a child 8 weeks younger than C should be) proceeded to decorate the front of the house - all santa stop here signs etc. Husband and I both found that really difficult to take a few months after all our children had died... Now, I recall you elected to decorate your house for xmas, so maybe you wouldn't have found them unreasonable? I'm not sure I do either.

I suppose what I'm saying, incoherently is, that it is really hard. Most people run like buggery, and the people left behind often say and do the most distressing stuff. I'm not even sure precisely what is reasonable or not. Should my neighbours have put their Santa Stop signs at the back door out of sight for one year or two? Should the eldery church lady not mention her miscarriage?

When I sat down to do the invite for Miss M's christening and first b'day, it was exhausting. Loadsof the potential invitees had said or done something awful - or not done stuff... like my oldest friend who didn't come to the funeral... at one extreme, I could have invited no one!!

In the end, I just invited everyone. People came, including my oldest friend - making an 800 mile trip - and they drank wine and toasted Miss M's good health and congradulated us. Maybe that is all they are capable of? 2 years ago, I thought it would be satisfying to exclude them from future happy events - but I suppose I have found it is not.

On the other hand.. there are some real a**s out there... I suppose the difficult thing is where to draw the line.

Rebecca said...

I was going to respond. I am going to make it a new entry... :-P