I started out this blog for selfish reasons to help me cope and deal with the loss of my dad and of recent times stopped writing them for fear of irritating people as I went on about my feelings. Then a friend who has recently lost her Grandfather, mentioned how it had helped her which made me realise I was allowed to continue posting to help myself and that in doing so I was supporting others. So those posts sat in my drafts are now about to be shared.
Grief can make you act more selfish, you’re so wrapped up in the sadness, anger and unknown. You’re dealing with emotions and experiences that are so personal and challenging, that you can forget that those around you are feeling it too and dealing with it in their own way. Just because their reaction isn’t the same as yours, and that this process is different for them doesn’t mean they aren’t feeling it too.
This can make it more challenging, those who you once turned to and relied on, who are usually your rock, shoulder and confidant are learning to cope too. They’re needing you to do the same for them and sometimes it’s just not that easy. My mum, my brother and I, have all always approached difficult and challenging times in our lives differently, some of our coping mechanisms are similar and some are the polar opposite. Sometimes we pull together, lean on each other and battle it out, sometimes we humour each other, jollying ourselves along, sometimes we argue, snap and shout at each other (we’re a family known for short fuses and tempers) and sometimes we distract ourselves, put our game face on and don’t discuss the cause of angst or upset and try to move on from it.
This grieving process has seen a mixture of all of this, sometimes with us not all being on the same page, one wanting to cry and pull together whilst another needs humour and the other needs a distraction. It’s then that it becomes difficult, because those that you need to turn to can’t necessarily give you what you need at that time, they need to deal with their own grief first. I found this hard, like I had no one to turn to and that no one could help me, my husband hasn’t lost anyone is this way before and although tries his upmost to be supportive, he doesn’t quite know what to do and is also greatly missing his father-in-law, trying to deal with that in his own way.
I then realised, I needed to just accept how we all had to be selfish for awhile, it wasn’t all about me and the help I needed and that my family had to focus on their own grief and I mine and in doing so we can then help each other.
This has been a big lesson for me, I’ve always thought of being selfish as a negative trait but actually in some cases you have to be. I also found it hard to see those around me dealing with this in different ways, it was hard to understand the coping strategies of others and accept that maybe they needed alternative things, especially when everyone else’s advice is to pull together and look after each other. Actually, sometime space and distance was what some needed and in doing so you were being there for them.
The thing that was key, was to remember that the love was still there and as strong as ever. We might have not been able to provide each other with what someone needed at a particular day or time, but the unconditional love and care we have for each other as family is always there and now more so, we just might not always be in a place where we can show it. The love and care is always there though, we just sometimes need to focus on ourselves first.