Something has been going on inside my head. The feeling of grief, anger, frustration, and sadness is very overwhelming to my head and heart. I tend to refer to the Internet when I can’t describe my feelings clearly, because I know that there is one person out there feeling the same or doing research on it for a medical report. It appears that I am experiencing disenfranchised grief and it’s perfectly normal, human and natural.
Grief Doesn’t Start With a Death
Disenfranchised grief refers to losses that are not publicly acknowledged, socially supported, and openly mourned. Long story short, whether it’s that of an ex or a friend, if it isn’t a part of your life, your grief doesn’t matter anymore.
As I mentioned before, my ex-husband is ill, possibly terminal. I am 100% there for my children. There has been some nasty rumour going around my small town that I, not only said, but posted on Facebook, that I hope his illness kills him. Anyone that knows me, knows that this rumour is complete rubbish and the person who started it….well I don’t wish ill on anyone, but I have no doubt that they will have their day. Really? I’m four years separated. Move on.
This ignorant and unnecessary rumour, dealing with my kids, the non-inclusion, and the grief of dealing with my Mother’s illness and future demise, has driven me right down the rabbit hole of four years ago.
I’m also caregiver for my Mother who is dealing with untreated throat cancer. Which means that she will die and soon.
I often find my thoughts revert to the past, how it could have been better, and how I have grown (and failed) throughout the years. I also get angry and wonder what I could have done better.
I am quick realize that while I made mistakes, nothing would have changed. I would have been neck deep with a ill husband, a dying father, and a Mother would be diagnosed a two months after my Dad’s passing. Someone said to me that God knew…..I responded, no God knew AND KNOWS that I would be capable of handling it all. That’s what you do with people you love. You give it your all.
Sign of the Future
I currently ended a relationship that wasn’t serving my greater good. I wanted to do counselling, he didn’t want to. Enough said, I’m 100% in improving each other as we grow as a team. Perhaps, this grief I’m feeling is also a blessing.
It’s sad when people hurt other people. People tend to do this when they’re suffering and lost. I believe we both had unhealed wounds and that’s what brought us together. I was once very happy with this person and was shocked at my ability to speak more freely than ever before. The hurt kept mounting even though he was an amazing individual during my Dad’s passing and also with my Mom. I had a vision for a 2nd relationship and, sadly, what it was, was not my vision. So I would rather be single, with a great friend and lots of memories. This leaves me open to a world of wonderful possibilities ahead of me. I just can’t “settle” after walking away from years that I perceived as love and building a life together.
Now that I’ve had the time to reflect, it was too quick and I really didn’t give myself the proper amount of time after a 30 year relationship before hopping into another one. If you want to believe research, for every year, you should grieve four months. That’s 10 years for me. Eek……I don’t know if that long is necessary, but I do believe that this disenfranchised grief I’m feeling today proves that I did not take the time required.
Speaking to your Children About Your Ex’s Illness and Possible Death
This one has been a tough one for me. There are times where I feel so alone with my Mother’s caregiving that I get selfish for their time. I will say that I quickly see the asshole in myself and apologize, especially to my daughter who now lives with me once again.
We talked the other night and I explained that while I feel incredible grief for her, her brother and even their father, I’m feeling very left out again and my feelings are just as valid as everyone else’s. People will make you believe that other people’s feelings are not valid in times like these, but that’s not true at all. We are human and we are all allowed to feel, not understand where it’s coming from, but hoping with all hope that we learn from it. We are all valid.
Unknown and Infrequent Grief
I realize that this type of grief is an unknown and infrequent stage of life. There is no written manual on how to act. There are some women who revert back to being married again and tend to their ex-husbands, while others….well they are not so kind and wish ill will after years of distance. I have chosen to allow my kids to involve me when they CHOOSE to involve me. Emotional support is all that they require. If and when the time comes, that it gets worse, they have their extended family to hug and mourn with. We are four no more.
That said, whether the outcome is filled with joy or grief, I will be there on the sidelines because my kids are the two human beings that matter the most in my life.
All I can say is that the next time you meet someone who lost an ex or a best friend to illness or death. Be kind. Disenfranchised grief is a very real thing. Especially with an ex that was long term, this person probably still knows them better than anyone else in the World.