I can’t remember who, but one of us, me or Mike accidentally broke this little ceramic bowl. I have a feeling it was Mike, but don’t trust my memory so I can’t say for sure. The grief and trauma have significantly affected my memory which is troubling in several ways, but particularly because I don’t know if I’m remembering our all too short time together correctly. I wish I could remember his exact words in so many moments, but sadly I don’t.
The bowl broke into four clean pieces, and I remember (correctly or incorrectly) telling Mike it was fixable. I told him about kintsugi, the Japanese art of putting broken pottery pieces back together with gold. The philosophy emphasizes the breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, embracing the flaws.
Mike liked this idea, he embraced flaws in everyone and accepted them as they were – human. He did this to me, and I offered the same to him. We are all flawed.
If you’re not a fellow griefling (yes, we have a cute name for ourselves – don’t @ me) you may be surprised to hear that you can feel very judged in grief. I learned this over the past year from my experience as well as talking to other grievers. I found when I most needed support I was on the receiving end of comments that seem like they should be comforting, but instead I felt judged. It took me a lot of thinking, reading, and processing to understand why everyone was trying to comfort me and theoretically saying nice things and yet I often felt worse.
The first thing I want to say is that your words will likely never provide comfort in the way you wish they could. I hope this liberates you rather than brings you down. It’s not because you’re inadequate, it’s because perhaps the only thing that would bring them true comfort is for their person to still be alive. You can’t take their pain away. All you can do is acknowledge it and perhaps ease their suffering if you can (more on that another day).
Also, I’ve most likely said versions of all of the below in the past, and despite my experience I often have to check my urges to say them now, so I’m not some perfect example. I just know more now and want to share that knowledge in the hope it helps bridge the gap in a society that doesn’t understand grief. I also know that if you’re reading this you want that too and I thank you for that.
Here are a couple of things people (muggles – yes you get a cute name too) commonly say to grieflings and why they feel like judgements.
“Want to split an orange, Baby?” he’d call out to me from bent over the open fridge. Mike and I always used to share them.
The other day without thinking I cut this orange up into 8 pieces and started eating, by the third slice it was getting harder to swallow as I realized what I was looking at, on the chopping board were Mike’s orange slices. His portion.
“Everything’s always better when you share”. He always said. Of course he was right.
These were Mike’s orange slices. I left them out for a bit because I was too sad to deal with them. I thought maybe I’d eat them later. I didn’t.
I hate wasting food, but I couldn’t eat these orange slices. They were his.
I’m back on my bullshit. That’s what the kids say these days, right?
A new kind of bullshit for sure. I never wanted to be a widow or a grief expert, but here I am, a member of the worst exclusive shitty club.
My husband died on July 31, 2020. More on that later.
For now, I want to say hello again – it’s been over 6 years since my last post. Potentially 10 years since you subscribed to this blog. I’m sure many of you are like what, who, why am I getting this email? Yes, it was a completely different story Before – feel free to hit that unsubscribe (I wish I could).