Tuesday, October 1, 2013

GOOD GRIEF

I apologize to my readers who were left hanging after the last blog about perinatal loss. I had intended to follow-up with a blog about courage and then my mother died. She was ninety-one years old and suffering from late onset Alzheimer's Disease. She lived independently until the last few months of her life when she required a twenty-four hour a day caretaker/ companion. She drove a car until she was eighty-nine. She is survived by many children, grandchildren and great grandchildren and a ninety-six year old sister. So I have to incorporate grief and courage into this blog.

Grief is necessary. We must acknowledge loss in order to go on with life and that takes courage. We must recognize our feelings and relate them to the realities and perceptions of reality that influence how we grieve. Is it sadness? Relief? Anger? Fear? Probably a combination of many complex emotions that arise from many complex thoughts.

We must acknowledge, as well, that the people around us may not need to grieve as we do. Nor should they impose their unique styles and beliefs about grief ( current instance in particular ) onto us and visa versa. It's a very individual process, although it may require the listening ear of loving and /or objective individuals. Grief takes a toll on the folks around us and is exhausting to us in its intensity. It may be short-lived or go on a long time. There are no steadfast rules. You really can't file the grief away for a convenient time to deal with it. It keeps popping-up and it lingers. It surprises us around a comfortable corner. And you can't wish it away.

It takes courage to say good-bye to anyone, any dream. It means we must alter our way of seeing the whole big picture in order to keep on going on. I am always humbled by the women ( and couples ) who experience perinatal loss and face the future and its consequences with such courage. The raw emotions of the trauma that accompanies perinatal loss are the catalyst for monumental decisions going forward. It takes courage to contemplate conceiving again while the outcome is unknown. And it takes courage to decide that enough is enough and that our fragile souls cannot bear to enter that territory again.

In fact, whatever it is that we must face in life and in grief takes courage. We need to be gentle with ourselves and grant ourselves the permission to experience the entire range of emotions, gaining self- understanding of our limits and to be respectful of them. There is a "circle of life" whether it is big or small, that we must accept as it is, knowing it surely is not within our control. And that takes a lot of courage.l