Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Sometimes things are not as good as they seem from the outside. Sometimes things fester, stew, grow and grow until there's nothing left for them to do but boil over, explode, causing damage in their wake.

Sometimes grief is like that. It sits just under the surface, often ignored until it can be no more. It explodes for a reason that has nothing to do with the origin of the grief itself, onto an unexpecting person who has no idea it's coming. Often the griever him or herself also has no idea its coming. He or she believes the grief to be under control, or perhaps has been working so hard at ignoring it, he or she has - at least momentarily - forgotten it's there. So when the explosion happens, it's an unwelcome and disturbing surprise to the griever and the recipient. The griever often feels immense guilt, though may or may not be willing to do something to rectify the harm he or she has caused.

This is sometimes how grief works. But it's not healthy. Especially when there are children around. Especially when the children are the unexpecting recipients of the explosion. It's one thing when adults are the recipents, because, as adults, we are able to rationalize and process the reaction for what it is - a part of grief. As adults, we are able to justify, explain, try to understand.

But, when children are the collateral damage, things are different. Children need us to be consistent. They need to know what to expect from us, how we will respond in a given situation. They need to trust that we are safe for them. But when we lose it on them, for seemingly minor reasons, their worlds come tumbling down. Their lives are no longer safe, but are scary and uncertain. Children already have control over very little in their lives. They trust that we will have control. They need to believe that if nothing else, we will be in control of ourselves. To live in a world where that doesn't exist, is absolutely terrifying for a child. And it alters them permanently. And it is not okay.

Today's lesson - Grief is not quick. It's slow and comes in stages. But if ones tries to "just get over it and move on", it can be harmful to the griever, and those around him or her. Take your time. Let it come as it must. Feel it. Then deal with it. Grief must happen like this. Just "getting over it" isn't possible. It must be felt and processed.


Peg said...

Well said, very well said.

Emms said...

Even when I don't think it applies to me at that exact moment in my life, your posts and lessons stick with me. As this one will.

marriage20 said...

So true!! The grieving process is so mysterious. If you try to chase after feeling better, peace eludes you. If you try to suppress your grief, it will pop up at the most inconvenient times. Beautiful post!