Today Sam and I went to our first session with a counselor at our church. I’m a big “let’s work through our feelings by talking” kind of person (isn’t that a shocker) and so in an odd way I was looking forward to it. And to sharing about our sons. I never mind doing that, even if it still hurts.
At first I wasn’t sure what to think of the session. A lot of, “God’s plan, there will be a blessing, trust in the Lord” – all things I know and believe but I sat there still struggling with what was wrong. I mean, if this was counseling I needed to go somewhere else because for me, I was in need of a different kind of session.
So after sitting there for about 45 minutes trying to think of what was really wrong (while we all talked in the meantime), she asked how I was feeling. And I opened up to something I’ve really dreaded talking about on here or in my life.
“I feel very, very angry. Not at God, not at what happened. I have a real sense of peace about that part of my boys being with him, I do know there is a purpose and hearing it gives me hope for a future.” I paused and ‘fessed up. “I feel angry at everybody else. I feel like I’m supposed to fit this model of grief that most people go through and I don’t, so no one knows how to deal with me. I feel like it would be ok if I laid in bed and cried for the next 2 months and let the house and my child and husband all fall by the wayside, but because I get up and get on with life and my grief comes out as anger at others, this is not ok. I don’t want to be sad, I don’t like grieving or spending time dwelling on what I didn’t get. Which is all normal for those who do. But I’m beginning to think my way isn’t. And I don’t know how else to grieve so I’m starting to feel trapped and very much alone.”
And this is how I feel right now. Most days I do not cry – and if I do it’s short spurts of intense pain because something hit me the right way. My grief deals with a lot of anger and resentment towards others. I’m not angry at Sam yet a lot of this is placed on him because he’s the only one around. I’m not angry all the time – but something will set me off (a comment, an off phone call, Facebook stupidity) and it bottles up inside of me until I fall apart.
Most days, I am ok. I can move forward and be happy and find joy in the little things. I don’t feel like I’m “keeping it all together” or anything, it was a relief to get back to a normal routine of life after months of upheaval with another hard pregnancy and then losing the boys. I wouldn’t have changed it, but there is a sense of purpose in my home and life I love to feel now.
But after talking with the counselor more, I’m beginning to learn I grieve different. Everyone does, but mine isn’t really sadness. I don’t like to be sad, and I’ve been terrified of death mostly because I felt like it would consume me into a sadness I would never get away from. I turn to anger or resentment. Most people aren’t sure how to react to anger directed at them or something minor in life instead of someone falling apart. I get it. It would be far easier for me to help a friend who is sad and upset than one who tends to get angry when grief hits.
This is me. This is who I am and my path of healing. What I learned today is this: Anger is ok. Being angry is ok. Jesus was angry. But the actions or words that come from it are not ok. Just because I am grieving does not mean it’s ok for me to hurt others. I can talk it out, leave whatever it is alone, pray, or write.
Knowing this makes my moments of sadness and anger a lot easier to bear and recognize. I am ok. I am healthy in this process. This is normal. I will make the wrong choice at times because I’m human and hurting, but I know I don’t have to always let it consume me or dictate how I react to it. There is no right way to grieve, and many might not understand mine. And that’s no longer my problem.
Grief has it’s own process as a Christian. Just because I got handed an overwhelming amount of pain and loss does not mean I get a free for all as a human. It means that even now, even as I hurt the most, I am still supposed to be a light for Christ in my life and others. So I can be angry, and I can grieve in that way, as someone else can be sad and grieve their way. But for whatever path you’re on in grief, there is a choice and a responsibilty. Christian or not – you have a choice in your grief process.
This is what I needed to hear and remember today. So begins another journey of my choice inside the one that was handed to me.