Georgia's birthday is just a few days away and as it approaches I find myself seeking quiet and solitude more and more. Since her death, I have been continually humbled and grateful to all of the support we have received but I have also been continually surprised by people's lack of true empathy. Empathy is described as the ability to share and understand the feelings of another. And while I know that the people in my life always have the best of intentions I often feel quite misunderstood.
I have always been and continue to be a very social person. In April and in October I find myself pulling away from others and wanting to spend more quiet time with my family. This is nothing personal. This is called survival! I have three living children that have many expectations of me every day. I also have a husband that while super understanding and supportive also deserves some of my attention. I still manage to get my children to all of their activities, help them with their homework and work part time usually while smiling. To be quite honest I think I hold it together really well.
What drives me a bit bonkers this time of year is that some of the people closest to me seem to have certain expectations. If I don't immediately accept an offer to go out or sit down with a huge smile on my face ready to chat they look hurt. If I don't want to do exactly what they want to do or haven't called them back within a few minutes they are offended. Even after I have explained to people how I feel about this time of year they still want more from me.
So let me be clear. I don't have any more to give you. My lack of a smile or my silence has nothing to do with you. Please understand that it is not my job to make you feel happy or better about yourself. Nor, is it your job to try and fix me. There is nothing wrong with me! My child died and I have every right to take time to myself without feeling guilty that I am hurting somebody's feelings. It is also my right to grieve for her as I choose. Nobody else gets to set limitations on my feelings.
There is an old saying, "If you love something set it free. If it comes back to you it's yours. If it doesn't, it never was". After four and a half years those people that have remained dearest and closest to me are those that have allowed me to be free. They don't make my grief about them. They accept me for who I am now,...today. They let me go (twice a year) and they wait patiently for me to return.
If my post sounds angry or ungrateful, it's not meant to. It is a vent for frustration and also a hope for understanding. I consider myself a kind and generous person most of the time. I feel like I am supportive of others and a good friend. For a few days in October and a few days in April I get to be selfish and take care of me. It is the only way that I have anything left to give the rest of the time.
Love to you all,
Palative Care Team
3 days ago