So, it appears we are at the beginning of two stages: firstly, discovering which friends really make the cut, and secondly, putting up with random people’s unsolicited advice.
Granted, the second is the joy every new parent has to learn to deal with. You smile, go oh really, that’s interesting, I’ll look into that, and proceed to carry on as normal. I’ve never understood why people feel that they are parenting experts because they’ve had a child, or maybe have just seen one from a distance. Its just this really weird bit of human nature isn’t it?
If your child hasn’t died, and you do not know me or my wife, or you do not love Leo or have not been involved in this journey from this start to now, then you can, politely and quietly, fuck off.
Three people at N’s work expressed a strong feeling that they feel I should return to work and then I’ll be okay today. This seems mainly prompted from N having a half day yesterday to come home to be with me – seeming as I was struggling. I don’t know why I hadn’t gone to them sooner. They clearly know all there is to know about me and my life, and are best placed to dare to even comment.
Firstly, I will struggle. I will struggle deeply and I will crumble hard. This will happen now and this will happen in a years time, five years time, twenty years time. What I need is loving support and my hand held. It is okay for me to have dark days. I do not need the ridiculous advice of someone I have only met at the 2014 Christmas Social.
Secondly, she will also struggle. Just because she is back at work, does not mean for one second that she is okay. Our bodies can fake it. Our minds cannot. Just because she’s polite and says I’m alright thanks does not that mean she is. It isn’t just about me. Stop asking just about me. I’m interested to see what wonderful advice they have for her should she be honest.
Thirdly, going back to work will not fix this. There is no fixing this. It is something that we have to learn to live with, to interweave with daily life. We have to be able to find a comfortable place for all the usual day to day crap, to sit alongside, safely. Somehow we have to learn how to cope with all of the boring crap, and not let it be the thing that makes the boiling pot overspill. We are learning this currently for her, we do not need to learn it for us both at the same time.
We set the pace, thank you. No, going back to work right now will not help. I know my work place, and I can tell you, eight weeks after my son died, that is not an environment that will help me. I am not rocking backwards and forwards in a dark corner just waiting. Everyday, I get up, have breakfast, get dressed. Most days I do some exercise. Some days I even manage to leave the house. Shocking.
I’m inclined to think that those that dish out unsolicited advice do so more as a means to make themselves feel better. To find a way to fix this for us, so they can go about their day, not having to give our welfare and mental state a second thought.
After all, I’m sure it would be easier for the randomers, if we moved on, got over it, and smiled? Well, sorry, not now, not today, thank you.
I’m sure we will get worse advice. To be fair, it isn’t that radical an idea. Well, actually we did… Someone today also suggested I go to see a hypnotherapist. Not knocking it – has its merits. But he felt it was good advice because his wife did it and then lost the weight she wanted to loose. Child loss and weight loss are obviously two very similar things. SILLY ME!
I’m sure it all comes from a good place, and in some situations the same advice might be warranted and helpful. It’s more who and when and why that makes it so ridiculous. So, can we just take a minute to name and shame the most unsolicited pieces of “getting over grief” advice you’ve all had, please? I’m curious what is next!