It seems quite common to me that when there is a death in the family, a lot of anger, resentment, and hurt transpires among family members. In my family, it seems to never end. I understand that everyone grieves differently, and in most cases we grieve the loss of someone very close to us pretty much forever. As I grew older after I lost my Mother under very tragic circumstances as a child, I felt as if I were living in a constant death museum. My family could never speak of her and still can’t to this day without anger, resentment or sadness. I feel as when I try to heal and simply cherish her in my heart and let all that toxicity go, I am treated as a horrible, disrespectful human being. I no longer want a relationship with many of my extended family members because of this. I want a happy life. I want my children to have a happy life. Why am I always the bad guy because I want to move on?
Dear Optimistic Griever,
As I read your letter, I momentarily wondered if I had written it. Obviously I did not and there are some differences such as our age when our mother’s died. You are not a bad guy nor are you wrong by grieving differently than your family. I always find it tragically fascinating how people boldly deliver their expectations to someone when they have no right.
I strongly believe that it’s good to heal and not remain in a state of grief. Grief is a stop in the road of life. We may have an extended stay but we’re not meant to live there. Your family may want to stay there, you do not and that’s what matters.
Now, I must be transparent when talking about walking away from people because I’ve been known to do it maybe more than I should. I’m not sure why I do that but I’m hoping to learn more about myself through counseling. But here’s the thing- if someone is disrespectful, causes you pain more than they should, carries very different lifestyles and moral values, isn’t honest, and MOST OF ALL, doesn’t respect your boundaries than who in the world say’s they must be in your life? Or that they even deserve to be in your life?
I believe that my joy, happiness, success, lifestyle, and motherhood are all MY responsibility. I think this is true for you and everyone. With that being said, we must make choices that create that environment for ourselves and family and cleaning house (figuratively speaking) sometimes is necessary to achieve this.
If you are stuck in a choice remember this- there is a difference between conviction and condemnation. Conviction is a strong desire and will to do or be something and condemnation is associated with guilt and negative worry. Decide where your heart is and what is best for you and your family and move forward. Get in the car and drive away from the grief, sadness, and guilt that hold you down.
If I died today, I’d want my beautiful daughters to honor me, cherish our memories and be strong enough to move forward and diligently create the life they want to live with joy and courage. And beware anyone who caused them more anguish. What would you want for yours? Your answer may help you decide what to do.
Blessings, Love, & Boundaries to you my friend.