I have had a really hard six - seven months. My mom entered the hospital back in July and was in the ICU for 6 weeks. She then moved to a regular room and then to a rehab hospital. I really had my doubts that she would come home, but she did. She busted out of the rehab hospital in less than a week. She was 86 years old. She came home and was doing her laundry the next day. She did really well for a few months until the end of October. That is when the same symptoms that hospitalized her in the summer, reared their ugly heads again. Trip to the ER landed her in ICU again. This time she didn't come back home which brings me to the topic of this post...is there a proper way to grieve?
I have seen grief expressed in many ways as I come from a large family and a close-knit community. Some will wail and cry while literally trying to throw themselves on the casket. Some react with anger at the person for actually having the nerve to die. Yet again, I have seen some react with humor by telling funny stories about the dearly departed. Finally, there are those who almost tip-toe around the funeral parlor and only speak in whispers. Basically, everyone has their own way of handling grief and the grieving process. What works for one person may not work for another. I wish people would respect an individual's right to grieve the way they need to.
I am not comfortable showing my grief to others. When I cry, it is silently. The tears roll down my cheeks, but there isn't any noise or sobs escaping me. That's just the way I am. Both of my parents were believers in Jesus, as am I. I know they are in Heaven rejoicing with family and friends. That knowledge gives me the peace and serenity to go on with my life and live out my dreams. I am one of those who uses humor to help me mask what I am really feeing. While my heart broke into a million pieces when my parents died; on the outside I was telling stories and comforting those around me.
Another thing I have learned as I have traveled this road is that grief can manifest in different ways depending on who the person is who has passed. With my parents, I was at peace with both for the reasons stated above. I knew they were together again and healed from their ailments. With Steve, my dear friend, I felt lost. We had plans for the future after our kids graduated from high school. We never made it to those plans as he died suddenly from a head injury. It literally took me months to wrap my head around the fact that he wasn't going to be there for the future. Finally, there was David, a wonderful guy I had known since middle school. We reconnected toward the end of his life. This one almost hit me the hardest as I wasn't sure where David was spiritually. I kept wondering if I had prayed enough or said enough. With my folks and Steve, I did not have this worry as I already knew the answers to those questions. So, three very different deaths with three different grief processes.
So, is there a proper way to grieve? After my experiences, I believe it is up to the individual and how they process best. So crack the joke, tell the funny story, shed the tears, wail like a cat whose tail has been stepped on, and get angry. Whatever works for you is proper.
Carly Jordynn is the author of the Forest of the Mist Series, the Retired Slayer series, and the middle school book, Levy Jupiter Kincaid: Racecar Driver.