There seems to be a lot of talk around grief these days. Many years ago when you endured something traumatic it wasn’t the norm to hear people tell you to take your time grieving. At least that wasn’t my experience. When I was very sick from toxic mold exposure in my office and my father passed away as a result of medical malpractice, I was so hurt and so angry. I remember that at times I would wake up balling and gasping for air. In the months that followed my husband would tell me how I would whimper and grind my teeth in my sleep. The stress and pain from being physically weakened my toxic mold and then emotionally wrecked from my dads sudden death, did me in.
At the time, I was encouraged by a few people to just push through the pain and make the best of the situation. That advice was so damaging to me and to our family. I ended up collapsing emotionally and mentally as a result.
I think we need to normalize saying that, it’s not shameful to be sad or to grieve for longer periods than others. It’s not shameful to need support!
It’s not shameful to take time to work through your feelings. Everyone is different.
Instead of judging someone, listen to them. Instead of offering advice, acknowledge their pain. Sit with them, cry with them or simply stay still and listen as they share their heartache. You don’t have to fix them, simply being present for them can be so very healing.
One thing I have learned over the last 20 plus years is that people grieve in different ways, and we can not push, yank, or trample over them because they are grieving differently. This is especially important with our children. As adults we may have a “suck it up buttercup” mentality because that is how we were raised. We may tell our kids to be strong and push through moments of grief but from my personal experience in raising kids, I can say that approach is seriously flawed. When a child or teen is hurting because of extended periods of suffering and loss, we must allow them to hurt and to grieve. doing this is like providing oxygen to someone who is out of breath. Allow their souls and hearts to breath and in time God’s peace will arrive and fill the empty spaces…this process cannot be rushed.
Lastly, people may grieve things that do not include death.
In the middle of so many trials, I often stop to acknowledge just how much our lives have changed since I got sick, and since our family lost a sense of normalcy due to toxic mold. Its been over a decade and a half of ups and downs.
There can be so many losses each day. When you’re chemically sensitive and have Mold Illness, Lyme Disease, and/or other chronic illnesses, living takes on a whole new meaning. You no longer feel as if you’re living. Every day, life becomes about surviving, about trying to keep your head above water after each loss. This constant cycle of losing and surviving can really crush the strongest of hearts.
And that’s OK. It is OK to feel crushed. It’s OK to grieve for the life you lost or are continually losing.
We have to remember to be compassionate to those around us who are suffering too because everyone is grieving some loss, some of us more than others.
In the mold injured community many are grieving:
The loss of not being able to have children.
The loss of close friends.
The loss of family love and support.
The loss of employment and or a carrier.
The loss of health.
The loss of finances.
The loss of stability.
The loss of belongings.
The loss of adequate housing.
These losses hurt so much and can be so hard to process on a day by day basis, because the suffering is compounded and oftentimes we don’t make time to process through our grief.
Wherever you are today, I hope you know that it’s OK to grieve, it isn’t shameful. It may take you longer than others to work through your grief and that’s OK too. One day at a time dear one.
At the end of it all, what encourages me is knowing that whatever I’ve endured and all the loss and survival can serve as a roadmap for those behind me, and that is what always pushes me forward. Thinking this way helps me cope because in some small way, I know that I am not suffering in vain.
Although if I could, I would definitely choose to avoid some of the many hardships we’ve endured as a family for what seems like forever, but I know that I cant erase them. I also know that I don’t have to be strong or fake being joyful when all I want to do is cry. In my weakness, I can lay bare before my Father in heaven and weep. I don’t have to be strong, because He is strong for me and by his grace I will make it through.
Knowing that my sicknesses and hardships and everything I’ve gone through can help others although hard, inspires me to keep sharing, to keep educating, and continue encouraging others. 💛
I do so because I remember the moments of utter despair where no one understood and I felt like I was sinking. If my suffering can encourage or help just one person, then to God be the Glory.
May He strengthen us to keep moving forward to that celestial city, where tears will be no more and laughter will fill the spaces where sorrow once lived.
Chemical Free Gal