We grieve more for ourselves than for those who have died
One of the only things guaranteed in this world is death and so it surprises me how unprepared we are as a species for when someone we love dies.
We are often completely thrown without the slightest idea how to treat people who are grieving. A little pat on the back and a sorry for your loss is usually the go to response. But really, how useful is that kind of behaviour and what is a good way to cope with actually losing someone. I don’t know. Death is fucking complicated.
So in the last few months, I’ve lost two very loved and dear members of my family. My grandfather died in September and my grandmother a few months later, just after my birthday in January. It sucks.
My family feels like it has broken into a thousand pieces.
Both of them suffered towards the end of their lives. Severe and crippling pain. My grandfather from the side effects of cancer and my gran, died of a broken heart. Of course in the end the symptoms were not a broken heart but after her life partner died she gave up the will to live. She just gave up.
I wanted them to meet my son, my grandfather died the week he was born. We hadn’t even left the hospital yet when I got the news. My gran died while I was in hospital for surgery in January. Fuck My Life. Seriously. I feel like it’s some sort of twisted and cruel fate but it’s not. It’s just life and life isn’t pretty.
So why aren’t we prepared for the only thing that is guaranteed to happen to us? Because it’s ugly. There were days I knew that dying was the answer in both their cases. I didn’t want these proud people to suffer. I felt myself quietly thinking it would be best if they just let go. I was mentally prepared for it. So why was it such a mind fuck when it happened? Well, quite simply,because no matter how prepared we are to let go of our loved ones, it’s ourselves we grieve for. We grieve because we will never see them again. Because we will never speak to them again. We grieve for all the things we won’t be able to show them and tell them and share with them.
My regrets are things like, why didn’t I have my son sooner. Why didn’t I spend more time with them. Why didn’t I…
The truth is, how could I live my life in anticipation of their death. I hate that my child will not grow up knowing the love of my grans hugs. Or the jokes told all day long by my gramps but the truth is, my child will have other experiences. He will be loved by other people. He won’t miss out on anything because he never knew them. It’s me I feel sorry for. I wanted them to see my child and be proud of me. It’s my loss. It was never about them or him. It’s all about me.
I grieve for myself. For all the missed moments and lost opportunities. I grieve for me.