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July 22, 2014

The Mask we wear...

How do you look to the outside world as time has passed after your child died? Do you wear the mask well? Do you answer the question, "How are you?" with a "fine". Do you shop for groceries, run errands and have small talk with others, while out of the safety of your house, and act okay?
Of course you do.....
Then we get angry that others make statements like "I do not know how you do it", or "you are so strong". These are statements that we want to throw something or break something, because we do not feel this way, but this is the image we are projecting.
And why do we do this?
Because this is what everybody else expects of us. Let's see. Child dies, parent grieves, a little time has passed....okay, back to normal.
I remember that prior to Engel being killed, I used to entertain every weekend. I loved to cook and bake and it was not unusual for us to have at least 4 or 5 couples over every weekend with myself doing all the cooking.
I kept this up for an entire year after Engel died, because I thought it was expected of me and I thought it would make me feel and look more normal.
Well, I am sure you can guess that the energy of trying to pretend everything was okay while I was so heavy in grief and pain, basically made me crash and burn.
When year two rolled around in my grief journey, and I could actually started thinking somewhat coherently again, I backed off of extra pressures. Everybody was "what is going on?" "You were fine before"
Of course they thought I was fine, because that was the image I was projecting. How would they know that every night, I cried myself to sleep.
I continue to hear from grieving parents how they are disappointed with non grievers. I would ask you to re examine the perception you are giving towards others. Are you pretending everything is okay at the sake of acceptance? Are you afraid that nobody really wants to know? Or what is it really?
Why are we so concerned about others' feelings, but we can overlook our needs and feelings?
If you are perceived as being okay, then everybody thinks you are okay.
Either express yourself and be brave enough for the ones that will walk out of your life, or continue wearing the mask.
By the way, that mask gets really comfortable after awhile.

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