Wearing My Grief Like A Badge
This one has stumped me. I try not to read a lot of books or blogs about grief. I prefer to create my own experience and find my own path—to figure out what works for me. I am so suggestible. I could live someone else’s life and experiences should I embrace them, just by reading too many other offerings.
However, every now and then, I stumble across something I can’t ignore. One of those things was an article that discussed people who wear their “grief like a badge.” I couldn’t stop reading. Too late.
The article discussed people whose identity is tied directly to their grief. (“Uh, oh.”) That sounds like me. I write a blog about it for heaven’s sake. It must be my identity. The article spoke of those who become so engulfed in their grief that it becomes who they are. (“Uh, oh.”) Are they kidding? I mean, I understand that fine line where I move to the dark side, but if they think for one minute that this grief, and the loss of Pete, hasn’t become part of my identity, they are crazy.
How could I possibly detach and say, “it isn’t so.” It IS so. “Criminy Dutch!” as we say in Ohio. How is it not part of my every fiber?
The person who wrote this article acknowledged that people in grief begin to lock in and build their whole identity around it. So I’ve pondered this for weeks, and it reminds me of people who want me to move on like they’ve moved on, Maybe I’m too involved. It’s easy for someone on the outside to say, “Okay, you’ve spent enough time here. It’s time to disconnect from this part of your life and create a new life. In the words of Charlie Brown, “AAAAAAGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!”
So, I’ve read the article, I’ve vented to you, and now here are my more coherent thoughts.
The problem with those articles is that they aren’t tailor-made. They are large and generic–hot takes for websites–but we are all individuals.
I agree that nobody should live in such a dark, depressive place that they can’t function. At least not long-term. Being in that space is not safe or healthy. I don’t want to be in that space either. I’ve often wondered if I’m “clinically depressed” because I sure have general vibe of crappiness all the time. BUT, I get out of bed, and I work, and sometimes I enjoy my work–more often than I used to, so that must be a positive. I always enjoy being with friends and family–that’s another positive.
But, the thought that this experience hasn’t forever changed me and left an indelible mark is crazy. I think about it first thing when I wake up every day. Reality is reality—I am one-half of what I was. I’m not lessening myself or making me half a person. I’m a strong feminist. I don’t have to have a man to make me whole, but I had to have Pete. Without Pete I am different, and if that is wearing my grief like a badge, then call me Sheriff Huttlinger.
Do you wear your grief like a badge?