May 7th, 2011
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Grief is a lot of work.  I know that sounds ridiculous but it’s true.

And some days I just don’t want to deal with it.  Or be reminded of it.

Those days would especially include when I have to fill out a government or school form for my son or myself and instead of writing his father’s name, I have to write in “deceased.”  That hurts.

Or I get to pick from the selections of my status: single, married, divorced or widowed.  After eight years, you would think I would be used to answering these questions but it still pulls me up short.  It’s really amazing how a question on a form can go to the heart of your being, even when you know that your life is so much more than the answer you give to that question.

My son’s father is no longer living but that doesn’t mean he didn’t have one.  But if I write in his father’s name then they will think he’s still alive, which is not true.  So what brilliant person came up with a form that instantly negates such an important person in your life?

And I REALLY don’t want to deal with it when someone I know comes up to me in the grocery store and asks, “Are you still working?  Really?  When are you going to stop?”  My first inclination is to ask them if they know about some pot of gold nearby where I can fill up my purse and haul ass to the bank but then I stop myself and try to put together some kind of polite response so I don’t blow a gasket or sound like a martyr.

Let me connect a few dots:  grief knocks you down, beats you up and then goes on its merry way to touch someone else’s life.  You are left in it’s wake wishing you could talk or touch the person who has died.  There’s a longing for a loved one’s presence to share an emotion, whether it’s love, laughter or even anger.  And then again, grieving can sometimes just be one long, hard slog of a fight to keep it all together and move forward.   One step at a time, one foot in front of the other…..

There is no formula for grieving because each person is unique and everyone adapts to loss differently.  I’ve often thought that life would be a lot easier if there was a “Rule Book for Happy Living” in the “Big Library of Life” where everyone could refer to it in times of crisis.  Hmmmmmm, let’s see. . . How can I know that this is the right person for me?  How do I get over a breakup?  Should I take this job or not?  And the big question today — How can I continue to rebuild my life and recover from a loved one’s death?

Unfortunately, such a book does not exist anywhere that I know of.  If you happen to find it, please let me know.  Since nothing seems to prepare you for the process of grieving, trial and error seems to be the way that most people make their way through the pain.  In the meantime, we’re all in this together and we can try to learn from each other’s experiences, taking strength from what we need.

The way you deal with losing a loved one depends on your personality, how long you were married or living together, what your economic situation was, whether you have children or not and if you have a career or not.  That’s a lot of variables and I think that’s good because despite other people’s expectations, it gives everyone a lot of room to find their comfort zone in dealing with their situation their own way.

Ultimately, you will find your own way, and make the best decisions you can, based on the circumstances of what you are facing.

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