So often when we are grieving we can feel as if we're far from normal. Like other 'first' times in life, a new baby, a new job, a new marriage everyone has an opinion. When our life has been devastated by grief the "you're not normal" critics come out in force. We might be doing things and saying things which friends and family think are downright odd and worrying and they're happy to share that with us. "Why are you still crying?" "You should be over it by now." "Don't you think it's time you cleaned out her room?"
Somehow who we are and how we are grieving is not OK. It seems by other people's standards we're not normal after all. There's something wrong with us. The seed of doubt has been planted in our mind – maybe we are crazy after all because it sure does feel like it most times. Along with feeling we've lost the plot we also feel so lonely and so very alone at a depth that is beyond measure, beyond belief. Not only have we lost the person we love with all our heart, but we're being told to not grieve for them in the way that feels right for us. In our fragility and vulnerability there is no-one who understands and it seems that we are struck down with the force of all we have to bear.
It is so very painful to feel that way but in actual fact what we are feeling is very normal. No two people are the same. No two people love the same and no two people grieve the same. Your grief is your grief and how you deal with it is yours to decide alone.
For someone whose heart has been ripped out of their body and is aching to hold their loved one again you are very normal if:
Out of the blue you smell them, it's so 'them' it's as if they were here.
The pain is so bad you don't think you can go on.
The only way you can fall asleep is in front of the TV.
You are so angry at everyone even at them for leaving you.
You think you've done something wrong because your friends don't come around or contact you any more.
You feel so anxious you're having trouble leaving the house.
You get excited about signs – butterflies, coins etc.
You feel stupid when you share it with someone who doesn't understand.
You can't remember how to do things you've done hundreds of times before.
You can't bear to wash that t- shift, that sheet, that special toy.
You're dreading the holidays when everyone else is excited.
You find it hard to be around people who have what you have lost, it hurts so much.
You are fiercely possessive of their things.
You think you will never stop crying.
You have no interest in anything – you're on autopilot.
If someone asks you what you're doing next week you can't even comprehend next week you are one minute, one hour at a time.
You talk to them everyday.
You are sure you hear them sometimes.
You kiss and hug their photos.
You follow someone down the street because you are convinced it is them.
You're thinking about the anniversary months ahead.
You can't bring yourself to go to the cemetery.
You panic when you can't remember their face.
You're at the cemetery every day.
Your death no longer worries you because you get to see them again.
You call their phone and hope for just a moment they'll answer.
If anyone else asks you how you are you think you'll scream.
You hope it's a bad dream you'll wake up from soon.
Everything is exactly as it was in their room.
You walk into a room and the longing for them hits you like a bolt out of the blue, they are everywhere.
You think you're family are from another planet their grief is so different to yours.
You don't feel safe when you drive the car anymore your brain is in a fog.
Many many years later you cry at some little thing and wonder why after so long.
You remember the time, the day, the week, the year totally and absolutely.
You worry yourself sick about your family now.
You so wish someone could understand.
If you enjoyed this article please check out my ebook,"What's Normal?….Finding Your Own Normal through Your Grief" When people are telling you it's not OK to grieve in the way that you are, I'm here to tell you it is.