A Different Kind Of Grief

A few weeks ago I got into this argument on Facebook.  I’m not a FB troll or anything but when I see something ridiculous I have a habit of commenting on it.  This woman I used to work with posted a local story about this guy that set up a meet through a local buy/sell/trade site to sell his phone.  His girlfriend goes with him to make the sale but unbeknownst to them, the buyer was looking to rob them.  He takes the phone, jumps into his vehicle and takes off.  The seller chased the vehicle, jumped onto it and held on until he was thrown.  He ended up with a severe head injury and in a coma. He then had an unsuccessful brain surgery and was taken off life support.  The article was about his accident, his mothers hard decision, his death and then asking for local support to help provide a proper funeral.  Sad story.  I made a comment about how the article was so terribly, poorly written and riddled with so many obvious grammatical errors that it distracted anyone that can actually read from the importance of the article.  I meant it was disrespectful to be so poorly represented, plus they didn’t even offer a link for donations, they just asked if anyone could do it.  It was like an informal e-mail.  The woman who made the post did the whole “lol, I noticed,” thing.  I didn’t think much of it because her husband is a producer for the news and I made a second comment about the editing of that station and how their news articles were horrifying to me “not that I know more than English 101.”  And then I said it was a shame for the family, a sad loss.  I mean, the guys that robbed him in the first place didn’t get charged with anything, not even the robbery.

   She then told me the guy was her cousin. I offered more condolences and told her I would donate if I could and just left it at that.  I think I have posted enough about my situation for FB friends to kind of know I’m more in a position to accept donations rather than give them.  That’s just my life right now.  So I thought that would be pretty much it.  A few comments, no one was offended.  And then BAM!  I was comment-assaulted by her siblings.  One was like:

You’re really negative for someone who would “totally donate if I could.”

   I suggested she not judge people.  judgeMaybe I’m poor and can’t donate followed by explaining that my comment was observational to the lack of respect shown by such a hasty “report” and that true negativity would have been a comment similar to those on the actual news post where pretty much the entire city called her cousin the cities shining idiot of the year.  I mean, who jumps onto the back of a moving vehicle for a phone?  I didn’t say that but we’re all thinking it. One woman told me to get a job as the editor after I told her that spellcheck is not a solid editor and that the human element is there to ensure context does not confuse the spellcheck; hence, my meaning of “editor.” They also started ranting about me judging myself by making the poor comment and “why would you even bring that up?”  And I fought so hard not to tell them they were all being really stupid. I calmly explained that I am actually poor and thus cannot donate.  Jeez, is it that hard to understand?  I also told them mild aphasia caused by a brain injury kind of makes it difficult to go to school and get a job as an editor.  They posted a small violin meme in response and that was when I unsubscribed from the thread.  I wanted to get mean but I kept holding it in.  I could have easily told them he was better off without them around him since they were so quick to judge a brain injury.  Instead I told them I understand their anger, their grief but that didn’t give them the right to aim all of that at me for a misunderstood comment. I have a literal mind, the mind of a realist and observationalist and I explained that (more simply) but they just kept insulting me. After apologizing to my friend for upsetting her siblings, she told me she understood everything I meant and then apologized for them calling me a lesbian. I’m sure they called me a lesbian because they trolled my public profile which is littered with pro-equality memes and links and liberal stances on other socio-economic issues.  My only response? I’d rather be thought of as an educated lesbian than an illiterate, close minded bigot :/

  The incident got me thinking about grief in general after a few days went by and their smug comments about my being a “grief expert” really got to me.  I’ve never really experienced loss.  My great grandparents were never close to me so their passing was sadly uneventful for me.  My aunt passed years after the last time I had seen or talked to her.  Her death had a very mild effect on me.  I’ve lost only one person that I kind of grieved over.  It was an ex-boyfriend. He hung himself in a motel room.  I’ve lost friends from the past to both suicide and drug overdoses but none of them were close enough for me to really grieve.  They kind of disappear after a while anyway so learning of their death at any point is a shock with a ripple you barely notice except on those few occasions they randomly pop into your head; sometimes those sting because they are so unexpected.
I started to wonder how my grief over my left side may differ from the grief you feel over the loss of a person.  Does my left body even count to someone who loses their cousin or their kid?  Could either one be worse than the other?  Is grief simply grief?  Does it all boil down to how we handle it?  How we learn to live with it? Do we all feel it the same or does it come in degrees?  Is it something we can measure?  I think things that have made me sad throughout my life.  I used to handle breakups like I was grieving.  I was in my late teens when I decided not to care anymore.  Why put so much emotion into something so temporary?  So I stopped putting emotion into everything altogether.  I stopped getting “involved” with everyone I touched and became blunt about how things were.  Why dress everything up just to avoid actually dealing with it?  It only hurts worse.  What’s really sad is those very few guys that have actually made me feel heartbroken, like I was really grieving, felt the same as I felt when I glanced down at my ex in his coffin.  Did you know your fingernails turn black if you die from asphyxiation?  Apparently, it’s really difficult to cover, too.
There’s a finality to death that can be difficult to accept and it’s hard to move past when everything reminds you of that person. If that person was a close relative, friend or partner, I imagine it to feel nearly impossible to move on.  Everything must remind you of that person just like when you experience a break up that is not going to ever get fixed.  There’s a finality to that as well and it might not equal the weight of a death but it doesn’t change the weight of the grief you feel.  Memories will only be memories now and certain things and places will always be different because you will always think of that one person you shared a moment(s) with.
So what about when it’s your body?  What about when it’s your body and it’s still attached to you?  I feel like I’m not quite worthy of grief because for me there is always a chance I can get my left body back.  It still improves even now so I have some hope in my reserves.  That doesn’t change the fact that I have grieved and that I am still, on various levels, grieving.  My whole life has been changed and possibly forever.  I had to grieve over the loss of my former self.  Anytime I see someone using their legs in ways I can’t like jogging up stairs or climbing up the slide or jumping, I feel a little of that residual grief.  What about when I look over at my hand and will it to move and absolutely nothing happens?  I grieve.  I may not cry but it’s there and it’s deep.  It’s a cold bubble in my chest and I’m trying everyday to keep it from popping and making me more bitter than I already am.  People always think when something bad happens to them, no one can possibly understand.  People think these things excuse them from following the “rules” of our society and they can openly judge and do so much more harshly than they would under normal circumstances.  I am not unworthy of grief.  I lost something very close and personal to me and that was a huge part of myself.  You lost your cousin, I understand grief; it’s just a different kind of grief.  I feel it just the same as you do and just because mine is no longer fresh it doesn’t mean I haven’t gone through it.  It also doesn’t mean I am never reminded of its cause or purpose. My grief is visible to me everyday and yours will eventually be an ember stoked every now and then by the memory poker to remind you to never forget.  They will both be hard to handle but it doesn’t mean that because I’m still attached to my losses that mine are less in value or effect or worthiness. We both now have huge voids to fill or learn to live with. Your grief is not less than mine and yours is not heavier than mine.  Neither of us have the right to mock or discredit each others grief (not that I would do that over a death).

   I’m still pretty bothered by that conversation, I guess. I just don’t understand why people can’t speak without pussy footing around everything.  I don’t understand why people refuse to understand.  Is it because it takes time?  I’m not asking for compassion but I think it would be awesome if people could read or listen to a full statement, really absorb it, before making a judgment on it and becoming defiant based on that judgment.  It just seems really harsh.

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