Dear Kitty,

Dear Kitty,

Yesterday I made a new friend through unfortunate circumstances. I don’t know much about her, but we have both experienced loss and that is a club that always welcomes new members with the understanding that we didn’t want to be there.

As I was reading a post that she wrote about trying to get back to life and the expectations of what “normal” living was after loss, I became a tad emotional again remembering that moment when I was trying to figure out what my “rights” were as I re-entered an unchanged life as a changed person.

There is also that expectation that flows from all sides of what “acceptance” and “letting go” are really like and what should be expected.

The following is what I learned that helped lead me to “acceptance” of grief without letting grief re-define who I was.

* You have the right to define loss for yourself –

Whether it was the loss of a spouse, family, friend, child, pet, job or dream; loss is loss. There is no sliding scale of intensity of loss based on a predetermined definition and you should never be made to feel as though someone loss more than you so you don’t have an entitlement to your feelings.

It’s obvious when you are standing at a funeral that you are experiencing bereavement. Yet, not all losses are afforded the right of physical burial. This lack of visual custom does not alleviate the burden of loss.

*You have the right to define your grief period –

Unlike a physical wound that can be visually affirmed of healing; the wound of grief is deep and unseen. There should never be a time period placed on the one who is grieving as to when they are deemed healed. You should never feel from those around you that you have grieved long enough or not long enough.

* You have the right to not let go –

At no point should you be subjected to feeling as though you need to “let it go” in order to claim full healing. Holding on, in many cases, comforts the heart and provides a deeper connection to memories that shelter the soul. It also can be a grounding point as you go on to do things in the name of your loss.

* You have the right to rage –
Regardless of the comfort level of others, you earned the right to be furious. It’s not fair, it’s not what you expected and it wasn’t your choice. Something was ripped out of your grasp and it’s your instinctual response to be righteously angry.

* You have the right to not be strong –

It does not matter if you have always been strong and weathered life; you have the right to fall to your knees and cradle being weak.

* You have the right to be a changed person –

You don’t not have to defend yourself when some of your relationships no longer work because you have “changed.” Relationships that worked in the past may not work now, in light of your changed perspective and being. Find what is healthy and what encourages healing.

Categories: October Diary Entry

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5 replies

  1. Alycia, this is beautiful. I’m glad you did it as I was contemplating a post about what to say and what not to say to someone who is grieving, but then I’ve said enough with yesterday’s post. All of this is very comforting and uplifting if one can be uplifted at a time like that. It says there IS no path, no pre-set stages through which you must pass, no time frame. That’s a relief. We grieve the way we do everything else we do – in our own way.
    Thanks again for this. I’m glad I met you ❤

    • I wrote something a while back (when I was pretty angry one day) about what NOT to say. “Fall Back Phrases

      I am so glad that I met you as well on this path. ALSO…I am enjoying so much the group that gathers on your “porch.” I’ve been spending hours digging around and there is such wonderful things and people there! What a blessing that you have/were/will be surrounded by such light.

      • Good post Alycia. It’s hard not to notice when people say something that bothers you but I remind myself that they just don’t know how it is. How could they? It’s a private grief we bear, no matter how we would share it. No one can really understand what it is we feel, can they?
        I am very blessed that so many wonderful people have found their way to the porch that is Life, for instance. And now YOU know the way there too! 🙂

  2. Alycia, so well said! Grief and loss are such an intensely personal thing that no one has the right to define how it should go for anyone else. Peace does come with the passing of time, but some days my loses feel as if they are brand new again. It’s been years, but I’ll reach for the phone because there is something I can’t wait to share. “Oh yeah, she’s still dead.” For a split second, I forgot. I’ll hear a song that reminds me of specific events and the smiles come because enough time has past for me to focus on the happy memories, but there will always be a part that is grieving because they are gone.

    Sometimes, I feel like some people think, “aren’t you over this yet?”. Screw ’em. It’s over when I say it’s over, and it still ain’t over.

  3. Thank you for mentioning the rage! I have been feeling very angry, as well as guilty. Usually people emphasize the sorrow that comes with loss, but guilt and anger can be key ingredients as well. There’s also confusion as we are forced to reassess our beliefs about life after death, not to mention all the questions about the events surrounding the loss. There are just so many emotions involved. Oddly, one of them is joy. You only feel the pain of the loss because what you lost was so important to you…so feelings of love are very active during this time as well.

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