On Vulnerability

Nine Christmas Eve’s ago, my cousin’s mom suddenly passed away, leaving us all shocked and devastated. In the nine years since, I have paid attention to how she has navigated the loss of her beloved momma.

Although I didn’t quite understand her loss, I tried to be there for her. One thing that I noticed was that she didn’t stuff the loss down to deal with it later. In my eyes, she bravely stepped right into the loss of “holy sh*t, I’ve lost my mom, what am I going to do?”

I don’t know about you, but when a friend or relative loses their mom/ parent, I pay attention. There are lessons that live in someone else’s experiences. I hadn’t been IN her shoes, but when she talked about her days that came with her loss, I listened.

I still do.

A couple weeks ago, she said something monumental to me. It was about her view of grief. She’s nine years in, to mom loss.

I’m nine months in.

Her words were soothing and healing, instantly.

INSTANTLY

I’ve tried to write about it for two weeks. I’ve typed, backspaced, typed, backspaced. Words jumbled up. Couldn’t get them out in the way that I wanted.

Why?

Well, not everyone understands the roads we are on.

Some do. But, everyone?

No, not really.

Writing about loss and vulnerability is sooooooooooo hard. It’s somewhat edgy. Talk about it a little and it’s acceptable. Talk about it a lot and it’s ‘you’re grieving too much.’

Vulnerability is like a coat that nobody wants to put on. A hundred and fifty degrees below zero and there’s a coat of vulnerability laying there? Forget it, I’ll freeze.

With vulnerabilities come shame. Being nine months into mom/parent loss, I can see why people don’t talk about losses.

Grief isn’t discussed much. Sure, people throw out lines of “take your time”, “everyone grieves in their own way”, “deal with it however you need to’ while at the same moment, there seems to be an invisible time limit on when someone’s grief is enough and they should just move on or that there’s some particular way to get through it.

Twice this week, I’ve felt judged about my mom loss. That I’m not doing it right or I’m taking too long. If I just move on, my holidays won’t be hard.

Grief with stipulations…

Writing about the last nine months has been a gift, a privilege, and a heartache all at once. I write because I know that I am not the only one dealing with loss.

My hope is that if someone somewhere reads my words, that maybe they’ll find a smidgen of comfort or something that makes them feel a tiny bit better.

You know?

Loss with stipulations?

It does not work for someone like me, who is in it.

Stipulations only add to an already overflowing plate.

And, hey, I get it.

People mean well. Nobody wants anybody to be sad. I’ve said similar things to people myself to try to help them feel better fast.

Now I see that it really doesn’t work. It probably just pushed them away…

Yesterday, I cried most of the day over feeling like my grief is taking too long and that I’m not doing it right,

Most. Of. The. Day.

It was prompted by the phrase: ‘ohhhhhhh, you’re not doing very well, are you?’

Ouch.

Very well compared to what? That started kicking up self doubt like you wouldn’t believe.

What I’m getting at here, is that being open about how momma loss feels is super tricky. Do I have to talk about it? Not really. Would grieving quietly be better? Safer? Perhaps.

Hmm… trade vulnerability for quiet healing?

Maybe I should…

On the other hand, look at this space that sharing my journey has created here!!!

It includes things like:

  • being able to share similar stories
  • real honest to goodness compassion showing up
  • a place to talk about sad days, sudden tears, and hard moments
  • connecting to others who are in loss too
  • learning from each other
  • stumbling around in how to write after being so open
  • being transparent and being met with kindness and support
  • opening doors to conversations about parent loss
  • peeling off layers of crusted up, protective hearts (including mine) to let some things out and in
  • lessons shared
  • hugs sent
  • tossing old stories of time schedules in grief to the curb
  • opening the heart for new ideas instead

I think I’ll just stick to what I’ve been doing. Sharing. Because if I cry for a day, I cry for a day. The best I can tell, putting myself out there is making me stronger, too.

Thanks for being here and for reading.

Big hugs,

Jessica

this photo is for SanDee

©️ COPYRIGHT 2022 UNMEASURED JOURNEYS- PHOTO TAKEN BY ME-ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

18 thoughts on “On Vulnerability

  1. Everyone grieves differently and I am sorry you felt judged during what is a hard time for you. There are so many parts wrapped up in grief, in loss- you do you- and find the people who get it who are there for you-without advice about how you should be handling it according to them! I wrote 2 posts a while back one on being vulnerable, another on loss, and another on people and their judging my loss
    https://dailymusing57.com/2014/05/08/vulnerability/
    https://dailymusing57.com/2022/04/11/rdp-sunday-grief/
    https://dailymusing57.com/2015/03/10/please-stop-telling-me-how-i-feel/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Lisa. Oh, thank you SO much, I can’t wait to read them. Love what you said about finding people who get it…. That’s one lesson I’m learning- that not everyone does. Dang, hard lessons. Thank you, feeling judged stinks. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved this! Loss is something I wish people spoke more openly about and the emotions that come with it, but it seems many don’t. Im glad you wrote this! ❤️
    Sending hugs and love!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey girl. Love love love seeing your name here. I understand what you mean. My experience in prior losses was that it was ok to about it at the very beginning of a loss, but farther into it? There was no more talking. I’m so happy you loved this. I know you’ve been through a lot with your aunt and now your uncle. Loss is tricky navigation. Thanks for commenting. I truly appreciate it. 💕❤️

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  3. Being vulnerable is hard, because it does open us up to criticism. But honestly, if someone is willing to criticize how you are grieving, do you really care what they have to say? You are allowed to grieve exactly how you need to do it, and you don’t have to justify it to anyone. Ever. The people worth staying in relationship with will respect your decisions and your emotions, and support you all the way! You just keep on being you. Wishing you peace and healing in this holiday season……..

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    • My goodness, yesssssssss!!! What you said hits home in a billion ways. I hadn’t even considered “allowed” or basically excusing myself from those who don’t get it. You’re right, vulnerable does open us up to criticism. What your words relay is, if I honor where I am in this journey, someone’s comments can’t rattle my foundations. From my view, grief brings with it some serious self doubt. I think I’ll work on the ‘keep on being you’ piece. My mind keeps going to some part where I’ll be strong AFTER I heal from this, but maybe I’m strong now. Bless you for your sticking up for me. When I read it, I instantly felt like you’re a big sister. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Very touching post. We are all individuals, which means we all grieve in our own ways. No shame; no specific time frame required. I have lost many people I have loved over my life–my grandma as a child, my father as a teen, my mom as a twenty-something. In later years, two brothers, one sister, and two brothers-in-law. I don’t cry much. It is not something that I do. But I remember them. Things about them will just pop into my thoughts from time to time. I once heard that when we start to share happy memories of those who passed away, that the grieving is turning to healing. That is my take on this–but only mine. It is how I deal with grieve. But everyone is different and that is okay. I hope that your holiday season is one that includes happy memories of your mother. Take care.

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    • My goodness, you have endured some loss. I’ve had my share as well. Babies, grandparents, a favorite uncle, friends… I LOVE what you said about grieving to healing. Remembering past losses, the talk of the time was only about grieving. And, at some point I’d heard that grieving lasts one year, then you’re through. Back to joyous living. Not sure where I heard that, but it doesn’t align, for me anyway. I’m all about healing. So what you said resonates deeply. When the time comes, I’ll take it. Thank you for saying there’s no shame or specific time frame required. Good reminders. Thank you- happy memories pour in all mixed up with the missing. Tears city. I hope you have a nice holiday, too. ❤️

      Like

  5. BRAVO! For bravery and vulnerability and wearing your heart on your sleeve and for being a healthy example of what grieving can look like! Love you dear friend and the SIGNS that show us we are never alone! White feathers and all!!! XO

    Liked by 1 person

    • Love you back, sweet girl. I hadn’t thought of that, “a healthy example.” I love that insight, thank you so very much. As you know, the heart of my sleeve has been a thing. I’m finally feeling like I have a place for it. Yay- the feather. I saw so many that day. Know how you love them. Thanks for being a pillar since she went to the hospital. It has been quite a ride through heartache and grief. Love you.

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  6. I love this so much! I understand too! Thank you for writing this!! I’m going to share it with my mom. As of last month she has lost both her parents, in just under 4 years. She lives in their home now without them and I cannot imagine how hard that is! I miss them so much! My dad passed away suddenly four months after my grampie died suddenly. Just last month grandma. Super close to both of my moms parents and so was she. I don’t know how to be there for her, but I call her every day and talk to her like I always have and some times I talk about them too. Thank you J, thank you!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi sweetheart. Thank you so much. Writing has been a bit tough lately. It’s wonderful to know that this one means something to you. Oh my, your poor momma. So. Much. Loss. My heart goes out to her. And, you!! I didn’t know you lost your dad! And, I know how much you loved your grandparents. Losing those we love is so hard… what a great daughter you are- calling every day and checking in. Bet that means more than any of us could ever know. What I’m learning about loss is, it’s not just the passing, it’s the missing. Your momma sure does have a lot of people to miss. Hugs to her and you! I appreciate you reading my writing. Means so much!

      Like

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