Tag Archive | tragedy

Bitter much?

Sometimes it’s hard when someone complains about their “hard life” to me. But other times when someone complains – confides – I’m grateful that I’m being treated like a friend and not a fragile basket case. I didn’t realize until recently why I react inconsistently…

If you have not acknowledged the death of my son just shut up about your “hard life.” How’s that for brutal honesty? I’m not talking about people who didn’t even know me when my son took his life. I’m saying there are people who were part of my life that simply never acknowledged it. Recently I got an email from someone – who had never said a word about Drey – about what a hard time they’re having because they’re going through a divorce. Divorce sucks big time. And it is very painful. But honestly if you didn’t have 5 minutes to call, text (or god forbid you actually show up at the funeral!) then don’t reach out to me about your hard life. That probably sounds rough. Maybe I’m bitter. I don’t know. How bout if I’d at least get a “I never reached out when Drey died because I didn’t know what to say but I thought of you often” before the whining about your “hard life” starts?

Grief sucks. I truly get that it’s awkward to reach out to someone who’s facing the unimaginable. I am confident I said insensitive things to grieving people before 8.8.12. And in all fairness there may have been times I didn’t reach out at all. We say, “what could I possibly say that would be helpful?” And “they have others that are closer to them “handling” this situation so I don’t need to be there.” But let’s not kid ourselves – these justifications we tell ourselves are simply self-protection and have nothing to do with the bereaved parent who’s curled up in a ball in the corner of the kitchen sobbing. More realistically my pre-8.8.12 thoughts were, “What if the person cries the whole time I’m there? What if I don’t know when to leave? I just can’t see my happy go lucky friend in that emotional state. I don’t want to see them because I’ll feel completely helpless.”

I’m grateful for the comfort-level I now have with being with grieving people. It’s one blessing that’s come out of this wreckage. I am also grateful beyond words for all the support I received especially in those first several months. Including from a few people that hardly knew me – Jan, Deanna, Trish, WS folks! That made a huge impression on me! I treasure the ways God redeems this tragedy on this side of heaven.

And for those folks that have yet to acknowledge Drey’s death and choose to reach out now to share their “hard life” circumstances with me? Kiss my ass. (Can you see the light of Christ shining from me? Ugh… I’m a work in progress! Praise God for His mercy!).

Learning to talk to people who don’t know…

I have a job interview next week. My first in years. I’m grateful that God has me in a place to be picky with what I do next. It needs to be right for me. The culture, the role. I have far less concern about me being right for them. That feels really good! I’m blessed to be able to think out loud with my husband and a few close friends who know my performance-junkie tendencies about what it might look like to move back into the working world. I don’t want my career to be an idol. I don’t want it to be where I attempt to find my identity.
I’m giving thought to what I want to know about this organization with little worry or concern for how I’ll share about my experience. I feel confident with what I bring to the table. But but but…
There’s that question that’ll be asked. I worked full time for almost 30 years (omg – when did I get old?). But I’ve been unemployed for 9 months now. I’m not worried about how to respond to the question. I’m concerned about the “transition” questions. “My son died in August 2012. I immediately went back to work then decided in the Spring it’d be best to take some time off.” Easy enough, right? But I’ve been in this situation enough now that I know “my son died” can be a conversation stopper. The person typically searches for a “transition” question… “Oh, I’m so sorry. Do you have other kids?” “No. He was my only child.” They were hoping – without even realizing it – that the answer would be, “yes, my other children are Bob and Susie.” “Oh – how old are they…” And the conversation has been successfully and smoothly transitioned. Or another one has been… “Oh, I’m so sorry. Had he been ill?” “No. He died suddenly.” Again – a conversation stopper. I’m coming into these conversations more prepared than the other person. So I try to be ready to let them off the hook. But depending on the person that’s not always easy. It’s often downright awkward. And “awkward” is not a word I want to use when reflecting on how this interview went! So I have a plan for how to keep the interview moving forward by steering the transition direction myself. We’ll see how it goes. If it flops, it flops. That’s the freedom that comes with living through a tragedy by the grace of God. An ability to live with a humble confidence because after all, what’s the worst thing that’ll happen?