Thursday, April 12, 2007

On Grieving

Nicole's most recent posts are heartbreaking. As an aparent, I have no advice to offer her when she asks how to live with (the possibility of) unrequited love for her daughter, with whom she is in an open relationship. She responds (rightly) to us well-meaning amoms who offer advice, particularly like "Give it time" and "let her grow into it" and reassurances like "She does love you" thusly: "Easy for you to say." That doesn't do anything for this moment. And there are no guarantees.

She's right.

"I need to know HOW to let this go," she insists.

This reminds me a little of a discussion on Mia's awhile ago, and of how I imagine my daughter might feel someday, with a loss and sorrow intangible and normally uncommunicated. I've never been in any of their positions, but in having suffered other kinds of losses, I just don't think there is a HOW _or_ a letting go, rather than a being in followed by a living with.

When our daughter came home, some might have said that she was too young to really grieve. But they would be wrong. When she cried inconsolably, she was not only feeling grief, but she was grieving. It was something she had to do before she could begin to really attach to us. And I don't believe for a minute that it's over forever. She will feel her loss and sorrow sometimes, and other times she'll have to do the work of grieving. If only there was a way to do that work for someone, I would do it for her. Or if there was a short-cut to teach . . . But there isn't.

Little Bun just asked me about a particular loss. He wanted to know how "[I] make it" so that I don't cry everyday about that loss. And I was stunned into silence. "Time" is one answer, but it isn't true. Time alone does not heal. The truth is, I don't know. First I think of grieving as an act, not a feeling. Then I remember that the end-game of grieving as an act is not the elimination of the pain but the integrating of that pain into the full, rich experiences of life. How do I do that? Unsuccessfully. (But any measure of success at it comes from prayer, meditation, and my husband, my children.)


Mom2One said...

Beautiful, wise post.

AMH said...

mmm... babies do most certainly grieve, just as you say. I am at times sure that my daughter's intense need to cling to me at every moment, and her panicky cry when I am out of her sight, is more than just a typical phase. I think she has and still does grieve for a lost bond that she is yet to consciously recognize. so glad you started blogging again...

wishy the writer said...

I loved your comment on the "seriously?" blog. It seemed honest. It seemed aware, as I am, of all the nuance and pain inherent in all adoptions, but nonetheless you shared the very real joy you feel at having the privelege to *raise* your girl. I feel the same way. How to savor and treasure her while also acknowledging and honoring all that goes into my privelege?



Biby Cletus said...

Nice post, its a really cool blog that you have here, keep up the good work, will be back.

Warm Regards

Biby Cletus - Blog

Third Mom said...

So true. I'm glad you wrote this, and I'm glad Nicole's post triggered discussion of this.

Sometimes it's just so hard.

Michelle said...

I've been a lurker for a while and just wanted to say I love your blog and look foward to learning more from you. Thanks for comment on my blog :)