I was determined to make space, inner space for a poem. Loss made everything sharp.
I suffer from these brief weekends, the tearing up of the roots of love, and from my own inability to behave better under stress. The poem is about silence, that it is really only there that lovers can know what they know, and there that what they know is deep, nourishing, nourishing to the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet.
For a little while, it is as if my nakedness were clothed in love. But then, when I come back, I shiver in my isolation, and must face again, and try to tame the loneliness.
-May Sarton, from Journal of a Solitude
My own inability to behave better… I recognized this in myself after losing Nelle in September. My tolerance for bullshit was reduced to nothing. The filter on my mouth disappeared. As my subsequent pregnancy materialized, I faded into my own fears, calming, compliant.
Accepting that people do not understand my grief is probably the hardest acceptance of all. I can accept that my babies are gone. Accepting the corresponding grief, my response to my grief, and the response of others to my grief – those are like brewing storms and I am never sure when the thunder will rumble.
I have been protective of myself. I write freely, but know that my reading audience is accepting. I talk, but know that my friends welcome me with open arms and shoulders to lean on. With the periphery people in my life, I have been more careful. Much as I want to fight the societal stigma that surrounds grief, it is still a battle, and I am already weary.
I had to share the effects of my overwhelming grief with someone on the periphery yesterday, someone who made a remark about lack of communication from me. I responded that I am grieving, I am not 100% right now, and asked for compassion and patience. The response I received was that my grief was “irrelevant” to what we were working on. It stung. I opened myself up, outside of my comfort zone, and I was burned for it.
But I cannot make people accept my grief, no more than I can make them understand it. Do I wish that I were functioning better? Absolutely. Much as I need compassion and patience, people do not always give it. I will need to conserve my energy so that I can direct it toward the people who lack emotional intelligence. The best thing I could do, for myself, was to walk away from the situation. So that’s what I did.