A friend, R, emailed me this morning, after I had sent out an email to a large group of friends last night about my blog, saying: “I hope that the process of writing, and now sharing the results, has been a comfort and support.”
I must be honest: I haven’t really thought much about what writing a public blog really means to me. I had the idea suggested, responded to it positively, and acted upon it fairly quickly; tapping into my impulsive side rather than my analytical one (I like to think the two usually keep me in balance, although it is often one extreme or the other). As I started writing a reply to R’s email, I found some of the answers came as I typed – for, once again, I find that I seem to think most clearly in written words. It almost feels like I sometimes don’t know what I’m feeling until I see the words appear before me, as if by magic. ‘Really?’ I wonder, as the words pour out onto my screen. ‘Oh, so THAT’S why I’m so upset / happy / angry! It all makes sense now!’ My reply to R was as follows:
“Writing has been my method of processing things for most of my life, so it has been a vital part of my own coming to terms with things, and trying to figure out exactly what I have been feeling.
The sharing has been important in two ways: firstly, in that it has meant that I can spend less time dealing with people asking me how I’m feeling and coping – it gets alternately boring and heartbreaking saying the same things over and over again, so this way I can say it once for whoever wishes to ‘hear’. Secondly, it made it much easier for me to get over my nervousness about seeing people if I knew that they already knew something of where my head is at.
Both of these functions are becoming increasingly irrelevant as I ease back into normality, but of course my subject matter will change with time to match my various emotional shifts. I am just feeling my way and finding out what fits…”
My first point indicates that I would prefer people not to ask me “how I’m feeling and coping”, which is actually not true. In fact, I have found it much harder to deal with people’s silence and distance, as it leaves me feeling far more isolated. What I meant is that I don’t want to have to keep giving the same answers over and over again; it leaves me open to talk about certain aspects of how I am, without feeling I need to repeat myself by giving an overall analysis of my process to someone who has no idea how I have been managing. Please, dear friends, do not stay away – even if you don’t know how to engage with death or loss, even a word or two can make a world of difference. Not mentioning my mother’s death will not make it any less real for me, and I won’t burst into tears every time I talk about her. Not feeling acknowledgement of her death, or my loss, hurts me far more.
Of course there are many other things to explore too. One consequence that I somehow didn’t consider was all the other amazing bloggers out there writing about similar experiences from their own unique point of view. Today is my third day in ‘bloggosphere’, and I have barely scratched the surface of it, but have already found great comfort in connecting with fellow grievers. It is heart-warming to be reminded of how many brave and beautiful hearts there are out there.