Amara’s disappearance along with the loss of her presence have given me much to think about. It’s taken cat number three for me to even “consider” allowing myself to grieve. After all, a cat is a cat and who grieves over a cat?
I imagine you’ve heard, “death is a natural part of life.” Perhaps even “The only certainty from the instant of conception is eventual death.” Throughout time religions and societal norms and mores have risen to deal with it. So while death is a certainty, is death of a person the only time the grieving process is allowed?
If yes, who decided? Who decreed mourning a cat was inappropriate? Who decided only “This” can be mourned, while “That” is irrelevant. Who said you need to “Pull yourself up by the bootstraps and move on with your life”? As one plagued with SNOGs (shoulds, need-to’s, oughtas and gottas) I have a lot of these running around in my head. Today, for the first time, I’m asking where they came from.
If grieving truly leads to healing, then perhaps it can be tool for other aspects of my life. The loss of innocence, being forced to leave a place I called home, loss of a marriage, realizing I wasn’t going to build a space ship and leave Earth, find the ultimate cure for stupidity, or forego a great singing career because I can’t carry a tune. (Okay, some of these are silly to lighten the timber of the post.)
As one who drags around an inordinate amount of emotional and psychic baggage and fought grieving her whole life (almost as much as I fight throwing up) let me tell you, being given the space to go through the grieving process, in a safe, loving, nurturing environment is yet another wonderful gift from the Love of My Life.
Me being me (living in Tana’s World and all that), I’m not sure how closely I’m following the “Five stages of Grief” (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance), if at all. Right now I don’t think that really matters. What matters — what is HUGE — is that I’m allowing myself the opportunity to explore this process. (Kicking, screaming and fighting myself the entire way, yes. However with encouragement from the LoML, my darlin’ twenty-something and friends who care, I’m doing it.)
As with all new things, it’s ugly. I’m not graceful. I lash out. I seek refuge in a black mood. I am plagued by nightmares. My heart feels achy and sore, and my soul numb. Yet as the days pass, there is progress. A lightening. A smidgeon of relief (and release). That is a whole lot better than nothing!
So while grieving over every little slight and loss in my life would be overkill, perhaps allowing myself to grieve certain losses — those which were important enough to carry around for years, squashing them down to the point where they’re impacted — may be beneficial. I think of it as Selective Grieving. Allowing myself to grieve the loss of that which was important to me so I can be done with it once and for all.
I don’t need to mourn every unpleasant thing in my life. Just those few pivotal moments which were colored by loss. Losses I’ve never acknowledged beyond saying the words. Amara’s disappearance has shown me words are not enough. Whether I like it or not (and being a SNOG-filled, stoic, I-gotta-be-able-to-handle-this-on-my-own type I don’t like admitting my way hasn’t worked) I need to grieve. With grieving will come healing. Sounds heavenly.
What I’ve learned from Amara’s disappearance is, if there’s been a “something” or a “someone” taken from you (regardless of the how or why), and it’s affected you in your very core, do the smart thing. Spend time with your sorrow. Spend time mourning your loss. Spend time allowing yourself to heal. Much easier doing it when it’s all fresh than years (or decades) down the line..
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