Gone (Maybe?) But Not Forgotten

Gone (Maybe?) But Not Forgotten
You rush home. The improbable has occurred. The popular kid has invited you to join the after school baseball game at the park. You ask your parent if you can go.

“We’ll see.”

What? No!! There is a narrow window of opportunity here! Tardiness may be taken as lack of interest, the exact opposite of your feelings. You don’t want to arrive after all the positions have been assigned. You must have an affirmative answer this very nanosecond!

The answer you received was ambiguous.

Ambiguous, adj., of doubtful or uncertain nature; difficult to comprehend, distinguish, or classify: lacking clearness or definiteness; obscure; indistinct.

Grief can also be ambiguous, depending on the nature of the trauma or loss.

PART ONE of this series deals with mourning a physical absence, while experiencing psychological presence.

PART TWO addresses mourning a psychological absence, while still physically present, as in the case of dementia or autism.

PART THREE will discuss recovery from ambiguous grief. Look for Parts Two and Three in subsequent weeks.

So you think you’re not depressed, though you carry a sadness you cannot explain. Maybe there have been events in your life that were bittersweet, and you didn’t know how to be happy and sad at the same time. Plenty of people reminded you of what you did have, and wouldn’t let you mourn what you didn’t have.

When a loved one is psychologically or emotionally present, though physically absent, you are confused. You have had no time to process the reason for the departure. There has been no finality. No burial. Your mind doesn’t <> if the person is gone. There is no proof. Your mind knows the reality. But your subconscious cannot be tricked. You just wouldn’t be surprised if that person walked through the door tomorrow.

Consider the following reasons your grief may fit this category of physical absence, psychological presence - infertility, miscarriage, abortion, gave child for adoption, adopted and wondering about birth parents, childhood grief not recognized by adults, pet loss, death of an ex, death of non married life partner, divorced parent stops visiting, kids leave home, mysterious disappearances, divorce, im/emigration, unresolved estrangement, shunning, body not recovered (9/11, loss at sea, soldiers), moving, disasters, surrogacy, death of co-worker, death of popular figure (John Lennon, Princess Diana), reduction of embryonic implants, new boss, new religious leader.

And while you may have buried someone with AIDS, or who died violently, you had no community support in your grief. The stigma attached to those deaths makes it hard to finalize them.

If you fit in any of these categories, there have been times you thought you were losing it.

One of the biggest factors in many of those scenarios is social unacceptability.

When your ex dies, no matter what feelings were between you, there is grief over the failure of the relationship, the loss of dreams, the memory of the pain. But no one will recognize your sorrow, since it was <>. No way you’ll be allowed to grieve at the funeral. Imagine how much worse for the abortion, the shunned.

“Don’t be silly, it was only an animal.” Salt in the wound, and a lifetime of sorrow.

Going into infertility treatments you knew what may lie ahead. You told yourself you could handle it. You got through the reduction okay. After all, it was for the sake of the surviving embryos, and your health. But at some point "embryo" turns into "baby", and your emotions can go wonky. Doesn't make logical sense, but there it is.

Take heart. There is a way out of this tunnel. Know that you are neither crazy or alone. Stay tuned for PART THREE in two weeks to explore recovery. Here’s a hint – you absolutely can find others going through this. Reaching out creates community. Community brings


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Mourning In Your Muscles
Grief By Association

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