By TMoM Team Member Suzy Fielders
Back in 2017, I wrote this TMoM blog about an extremely hard time in my life and the first time I truly felt all-encompassing despair. Well, 2023 was the first time I truly felt all-encompassing grief. I wanted to share my story in hopes that it helps others work through their grief and maybe even inspires them to share their own stories.
Like with despair, it is not that I never felt the emotion before but not so deeply it rocked me to my core. What caused this soul wrenching grief? In May, my mother passed away. It happened a mere couple of months after her pancreatic cancer diagnosis.
She left us while I was nine months pregnant. In fact, my daughter Scarlett was born the day after she passed away. So, my pregnancy hormones enhanced my grief yet the arrival of the new addition to my family lightened it slightly. I never realized how true the ‘circle of life’ was until those 48 hours.
Today, over a month later, I find myself still working my way through my grief.
Debunking the Linear Stages of Grief
When you hear about grief you likely often think of what you’ve heard on TV or from friends and family about their being either 5 or 7 stages. It varies depending on who you ask or where you see it mentioned.
Personally, after living through this level of grief I don’t buy into going through the stages – at least not in some linear order as many suggest. For me, it’s like constant cycling through some of the emotions, or stages. Envision it as more of a ping-pong of those emotions versus going from stage 1 to stage 2, etc.
There are moments where I feel extreme sadness, like when I’m reminded that she never met my daughter Scarlett. There are moments where I am in some denial about it even happening, like when I almost texted her we made it safely to the beach as I always let her know I got somewhere when traveling.
The same goes for all other emotions in the stages of grief. They come and go – sometimes with a particular trigger and sometimes for what seems like no reason at all. I suppose if there is an end it would be acceptance, but the reality is do you ever truly accept a loved one is gone? If like me you feel they are still watching over you or moved on to a better place, then they aren’t completely gone.
What is Grief Really?
As a writer I always appreciate a good line, whether in a movie, book, or something someone says to me. Back in January 2021, Marvel released their first Disney+ TV series WandaVision. There was a line in it that pertains to grief that at the time I thought was a beautiful statement and appreciated as a writer. But now that I’ve felt such strong grief it rings even truer. The line was, “What is grief if not love persevering.”
Therefore, today as I work to navigate through my own grief, I think of this line and remember that grief is just another expression of love. It feels much easier to navigate it when I think of it in that manner. It especially helps when I think of things I miss most about my mom or wishing I had more time with her. I know I can’t change either of those things now. Therefore, viewing it in the lens of love vs. grief allows me to instead think of all the times I had with her and what she meant to me.
For instance, when I think about missing out on something as simple as her being the first to like and/or comment on my social posts, I think about all the ones I had and how she filled each one with love.
If you are also navigating through the throws of grief, then I recommend trying this ‘filter’ of love too. I hope it helps you as it has helped me.