Permission to grieve.

Recently someone was talking to me about the grieving process.  They mentioned that after a while, you’ll be doing okay.  Then something will happen to trigger your grief, and before you know it it’s like you’ve been hit by a wave that you didn’t see coming.  The other day that happened to me.  Before the adoption process fell through I kept a journal online.  I poured myself into it; I wanted to catalog everything in the process for our little son.  I wanted him to have his own form of “birth story.”  

I had honestly forgotten about it’s existence, as of course it was abandoned after it all went down with our agency. But the other day I got an email in my inbox saying, “you haven’t written in your journal lately!”  I didn’t think reading it again would bother me.  I didn’t expect that wave. 

I was hit again when we started doing our taxes, of all things.  Richard started going through our statements and I saw all of the money we poured into our dream.  Some of it we had refunded, but not all.  It wasn’t the loss of money that bothered me; it was remembering how excited we had been when we sent off every check. One step closer, we’d always say.

Sometimes something as simple as seeing someone post about their adoption journey will bother me, when at other times it doesn’t bother me at all.  

Now I know some of you are thinking…seriously. This is so over dramatic.  You didn’t even have a referral yet.  There are other ways to adopt.  It’s not like you really lost anything.  

I recognize that there are other ways to adopt.  Richard and I have signed up for the April session of foster care classes.  I know that sometimes this whole “woe is me,” seems melodramatic, especially considering the fact that there are so many people in the world dealing with heavy loss.  I know we didn’t have a referral yet, and I know that somehow that’s supposed to make it not hurt.   

 I understand that there are many people who can easily “one up” me in the grieving department. I think about what they’ve lost, and feel bad about having a pity party. So why does this grief keep on slapping me in the face every so often?

There are some very special people in my life that told me it was okay to grieve a little. They confirmed that what we had experienced was a type of loss. That you can’t measure or compare grief, and you don’t have to defend how you feel.  It is what it is.  I heard a lot of, “well, it just wasn’t God’s will,” or “maybe God wants you to wait a while,” and “one day this will all make sense.”   All meant well.  But nothing helped me like that one special person who told me it’s always okay to grieve a loss, however small.  It’s okay to feel. I can cry a little without feeling silly. Adopting from Uganda consumed my life for over a year and then suddenly it was over.  To not feel anything would be more bizarre than feeling everything.

So for those of you out there like me-  It’s okay to want to talk about it.  What you’re feeling is valid, even if others may say it is not.  Whether it be an early miscarriage, an interrupted adoption, the loss of a loved one, a pet, a relationship, or the loss of a dream.  You can talk about it, or you can stay quiet about it…but for what it’s worth, you have permission to grieve.  

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