When Sonzee first died a close friend of mine whose daughter had already died told me “Randi, you’ve got 18 months before you aren’t allowed to grieve anymore”. We joked we should write a book about our time limit and things we should advise other bereaved parents to do during that allotted time. I think we chatted about it two times and that was it.
Through all my reading of grief books and online and in person grief groups I had heard there would be or it was at least referenced, that people would expect grief to end by a certain date. For 2 years on the grief journey I thought how I had been lucky I hadn’t really experienced any of the “negative”’comments, thoughts or insinuations. There were brief glimpses of idiocy presented to me, like the day after Sonzee died when someone told me I’d get over her death because her sister in laws cousins friend had lost a son to cancer and she had moved on so I shouldn’t worry; I’d get over it. I turned that into a joke during shiva with my closest friends with either them asking me if I was over it yet or me saying we shouldn’t worry because in a few hours I would be good to go.
A sprinkle of comments here and there would occur, but always during the first 2 years at least one person would ask me how I was doing and insinuate they were wanting to know how I was “truly” doing. Truly wanting to know how was I coping with the death of one of my children. Albeit an awkward question to answer, at least it was asked.
By the start of year 3 on this grief journey that question was no longer asked by those who are not true friends. Attending events seeing people I haven’t seen since Sonzee’s death or around that time, no one asked. Maybe they didn’t care? Maybe they didn’t want to “make me think about it” (ha! We can discuss that in another post). OR maybe, it’s simply that they didn’t even think about it anymore.
It’s been 3 years 8 months and 17 days. I was asked one time during the last 8 months how I was really doing, and it was followed up with a “but aren’t you happy she is in a better place?” A statement that has nothing to do with how the death of one of my daughters still, “even” after 3 years 8 months and 17 days feels the same if not worse than it did on day 1.
I realize every day how much life goes on. I get it. She died, people felt badly and then resumed their lives. People mourned her loss and maybe even a few still think about her, and maybe some even wonder how I am truly doing, but don’t bother to ask. It’s not fine, but at the same time it is, because I am here to explain, she may have died. Her life may have expired, my pain has not and it won’t ever. That’s ok because grief is just how I will continue to love her. I don’t need anyone to call and ask me how I am doing, I don’t need to have to dodge the uncomfortableness of others when I might bring her up. I am just here to tell you, grief is forever, so a true check in on all your bereaved parents shouldn’t expire.