Mourning - How Do We Mourn The Living?
When we hear that word we think of the passing of a soul –Did you ever think about mourning the living? What does it feel like?
MOURNING – is, in the simplest sense, grief over someone’s death. The word is also used to describe a cultural complex of behaviors in which the bereaved participate or are expected to participate.
This process of mourning is universal all over the world! Each culture grieves the same but different. WE all have our own way of handling death, personally and as a community. When someone passes away, as difficult as it is to lose them, we know it is final in the sense of physically being here on this earth.
WHAT ABOUT MOURNING THE LIVING?
Have you ever thought about that?
As we make our way through life people do come and go. Friends, work associates, neighbors and family. How do we handle it when someone is gone from our sight but is still physically roaming the earth?
Our brain is wired in such a way that when someone has affected our lives, we cannot just turn it off. That image stays present long after the person has moved on. There will be a certain moment when you are triggered by a memory and instantly you are transported back to a time of the past.
What do you do with all of those left-over feelings and connections?
You must process them the same way that you would the death of a beloved person in your life. As you move forward take the time to revisit the good, the bad and possibly the ugly. Learn how to make peace with the fact that you will not see that person anymore and why.
These feelings and emotions may be difficult to face, but necessary to be able to release all those feelings that have been left behind. People come and go in our lives for various reasons, and sometimes it is for a lesson, or other times it is better that they moved on, but the hardest part is when someone close to you leaves and brands your heart with a hole that is quite painful.
How do you fix it?
It may not always be fully fixable, but again putting understanding and meaning to the reasons why will help you move forward.
I will share with you a true example of how I have personally “mourned the living”.
As a mother I take great pride in all of my children. I have raised three of them two boys and a girl. I am now a grandmother of three, two girls and a boy! I have learned so much along the way as a parent - The Good – The Bad – The Ugly.
My oldest child (my son) was born premature and we almost lost him. Through love and support my husband and I willed him to live and survive. With an incredible team of doctors and our unconditional love he did survive. His life growing up was difficult as he struggled with ADHD/OOD/Anxiety. As a family we all supported him through his trials and troubles which included being bullied and beat up, isolation, depression and a very dark time in his life. As a teenager growing up into a young man his choices were quite poor and he got himself into some trouble.
As his dutiful family we stood by his side reaching out to him every single day trying to connect and keep him close. His response was always to push us away, repeatedly. We never gave up on him, ever! His years of poor choices and awful behaviors effected our family as a whole. It broke us! It was me, my husband, and the two kids, and there was our other son, lost, refusing are support.
It was a constant battle of the wills with a mothers undying love for her son holding onto those heart strings for dear life. That statement “A mothers love is like no other” is one of the truest statements I know, because I live it every day.
Fast forward to the present as my baby boy is now a 30-year-old man I mourn him every single day. He continues to shun us every step of the way, not allowing us to be close. This hurts my heart more than any other pain I have felt throughout my life, and my life has been difficult. I grew up in a dysfunctional household with a severely mentally ill mother, went through all types of abuse (mental, physical, emotional, sexual) by more than one abuser, lost my brother to Leukemia at age 9 (I was 6), and I survived.
I always knew when I had my own family it would be different than what I grew up with. I put my heart and soul into my husband and children giving them an environment to grow up freely with safety, happiness and unconditional love.
Who would of thought this is how our story would play out? My son and I have a “texting” relationship. I have not seen him in 4 months! We are raising two of his children and he has a daughter (our grandchild) that we see maybe once a year.
Without going into details of our complex story – there is a lot of events that brought us here, but as parents we did absolutely everything, we could to help him.
I always said we were trying to save him from himself.
I know first hand what “mourning the living” feels like and it is far worse than mourning the dead. This is because that person is still physically here. WE can connect with them if it is meant to be. Knowing my son is only 15 minutes away from me but we are still a world apart is devastating.
So -- what do we do with all of that?
We continue to live. We process what has happened and put it into its proper place. It is hard YES -- IT IS PAINSTAKING -- but it is a must because if we do not do this then we are not living.
As I move forward with my life, I pray for him every day. I pray for his safety and good health. I pray one day for answers that may never come. I also remain hopeful that he will return to us wanting to engage beyond the world of texting.
I am reminded of him through his two children and stories of the past.
Mourning the living is beyond all of us and something I do not believe many people talk about or share. Most people travel this earth with that pain inside their hearts holding it privately, not allowing anyone to see the “unspoken truth”.
I chose to share it here today because I hope my story and experience will help someone else in mourning find a way to cope with the loss.
We must face what hurts us the most in order to learn, overcome and hopefully heal.
Embrace the Journey,
Author/Child & Mental Health Advocate/Public Speaker/Blogger/Inspirationalist
The Unspoken Truth A Memoir -- A child’s story – An adult’s journey towards healing