This is crazy… I mean, my OB told me, the social worker at the hospital told me, I read it in books, I even read about it on websites of fellow bereaved mothers: everyone grieves differently. You’d think that knowing that, you wouldn’t make the same mistakes. Yet I did. Because realizing this fact, isn’t always easy.
From the second Sahar was diagnosed until after we lost her, Frank and I were completely united in our grief. We cried together, we sat together, we held each other’s hands, we hugged each other, we stood by each other. We sat numb in the couch, holding each other tight, until we were so exhausted we finally fell asleep. It’s been almost 7 weeks since we lost her, and almost 9 weeks since she was diagnosed. In this time after her death, we have taken separate paths in our grieving process. I’ve found comfort in sharing Sahar’s story out loud, creating this blog, spend hours reading blogs, connecting with other bereaved mothers on Instagram, engaging in projects, creating a space for her here at home, and break down when I need to. He finds comfort in trying to go on with life, dive back into work, back to learning new programming languages, back to the normal flow of life.
We grieve differently. I feel that when I talk about her, when I’m busy doing stuff for her, to honor her, I feel much closer to her. I feel connected. I feel her around more. And that is my comfort. It’s what keeps me going. I want to actually do things for her, even if she’s gone. I try my best to be a good -bereaved- mother (still a mother). Frank talks about her way less than I do. But I know he thinks of her every single day, I know he remembers her with love, with sadness, with acceptance, with pain – all together. Like he’d say: She is in my mind always. I see her in front of my eyes all the time. I just don’t feel the need to talk about her that often, and that doesn’t mean I forgot her. And I respect that, I truly do. As he respects my way of grieving. But sometimes, lost in the sadness, lost in frustration, lost in pain, our difference in coping with her loss, causes conflicts.
Thankfully, they never last more than a few minutes. We talk it through, and we both understand we grieve in our own way. He can ask himself why I let myself go in my grief so much, his goal every day is getting me out of that bed standing up on my feet. And I appreciate that tremendously, but sometimes, I need a little bit of time to burry myself in that grief, to let it all out. And understanding as he is, he gives me that room. I ask myself why he doesn’t talk about her as much as I do. Has he moved on? Guilt instantly takes over… How could I even think that, I know he hasn’t!!! I know he’s just trying to remain standing, to remain strong, especially when he sees that I can’t.
We grieve differently. But we both grieve, a lot. We’ve taken different paths in this journey, but we have the same destination: finding bliss and happiness, and reincorporating that into our lives again, next to the grief. Because the grief will never go away. We will just find a place for it in our lives. A way that it can coexist with happiness and bliss.
I just want to say: I know you are hurting too, I know you are grieving too. We don’t need to grieve the same way to share the same pain. I am sorry if sometimes I lose track of that fact. We are in this together. I am here for you, as you are here for me. I love you. We’re still standing, together. We’ll get through this, together. And we will remember her, always, together.
Whenever you have a conflict with your partner about the way he/she grieves, remember that just because you grieve differently, doesn’t mean your significant other grieves less. Support each other in any way that helps you to take the next step in life. It’s hard enough as it is. Acknowledge that you’re both in pain. And grow towards each other, even when you process this loss in a different way. I know we are.
You can find more resources about grieving differently here:
Carly Marie’s take on couples that grief differently
Lindsey talks about how men and women grieve differently
Search for “grieving differently” on Still Standing Magazine
Wishing you all the best,