What I am about to say is not intended to touch everyone. It is not going to be understood by most. And by all means, I am not trying to change or fix anyone. I am purely and genuinely going to vent.
I don't understand the way people react to someone's grief. I have read about, been told it would happen and seen people react to me in very peculiar ways. Specifically, people have left my side and no longer fill the role of a friend.
I know someone who's son, years ago, was killed just days before his college graduation. My heart went out to her. She was not a close friend, but a friend indeed and I didn't know what to do for her. She was surrounded by so many who loved her and had so much support, or so it looked from the outside. I felt so bad for her and wanted badly to reach out to her. I had been told that a couple months after a tragedy is when people generally find themselves alone as their family goes back home and everyone goes on with their lives. So I wrote in my day planner on the day 2 months from her tragedy to send her a card and I did so. I saw her a few months later and asked her how she was doing and was surprised how much she shared with me. At the time, I did not know how to handle her grief. Now I do. Now I know and understand how much she wanted to talk about her son to me, a distant friend. But one thing I didn't do, was judge her.
Before Chase died, I could have never imagined the pain she went through and how it would guide her every day. How that pain would override every thought, every emotion, every feeling, every thing she did in her life. So I never judged her actions, her choices, her weight loss, her weight gain, her change in appearance, her behavior. After the loss she had endured, any of those things were destined to be affected or change and change again and my heart continued to ache for her. This was the outsider's point of view of grief that I had.
Now, having lost my own child, and having endured the pain of this and learning to live with it every day of my life, I don't understand why I am judged. "Chase died and then she just quit talking to me." In my head, I can just hear these comments. "She got mad at me because I'm still friends with her doctor's friend's sister's husband's cousin's neighbor's uncle. How insane is that? Like they had anything to do with it."
I can't explain my feelings. I can't tell you why I feel the way I do or why I do the things I do or why I say some of the things I say. I'm hurting. Inside. Always. And the anger side of grief will sometimes guide me to do things that I could not ever expect you to understand. Unless your child had died, too. Think of it this way, and then try to justify the way you feel. Try to explain it to someone why you can't stand to be around someone who is 6 degrees of separation away from the person who is responsible for your son's death. Sounds crazy, I know.
The "funeral home guy" told me that his very close friends lost a teenage son and because of the whole funeral and burial thing, his grieving friends quit talking to he and his wife. He acknowledged that they probably equated the death of their son to them but he didn't know why they quit talking to them--they had been such close friends. My reaction to that was, "Don't judge them". No, you didn't cause the death of their son, but you remind them so vividly of those particular moments following their tragedy that I don't blame them. I don't know why we act this way, but I completely understand. It's unfortunate and, sadly, I can totally relate. I, personally, wanted to jump in a hole--to hide from everyone, everything. All the while feeling like I was living in a glass house. Maybe it was my own insecurities, my shattered faith, my pain, but I didn't want to see anyone I knew....except for my closest friends.
To date, however, nearly all of those closest friends are gone. Most have left my side. Some made choices. Choices I could not accept. For reasons I cannot explain. So I remain misunderstood, misjudged. As if it matters. Because I am much better off than I was, all things considered. There are new friends in place. Some closer old friends. And I am starting over, the new me. I'm not going to say improved, but I will call myself real. I see things with people so much more clearly than I ever had. My family, though the most important thing in my life before Chase died, is the center of my universe. And I love them with every breath I take.