I was talking to my niece the other night and she said something that made me stop and think. Talking to this niece is something I treasure, she cut me off for several years. I have this thing where I tell the truth and I don’t really care if you have “anxieties” and “anger issues.” Those are your problems, not mine, and I won’t walk on eggshells because you won’t deal with them. When her dad passed away last year, we reconnected. I do love the child – okay, she’s 40 so she would laugh at me calling her a child – and I told her when we talked at the funeral that while we don’t always like each other, I will always love her. At any rate. I digress.
She’s grieving. She’s the youngest of six and has lost her dad at what is really a pretty young age. I remember saying to my oldest sister when my mom died, when she told me basically to get over it, that she should be grateful for the years she had with my mom and to remember that I didn’t get that luxury. (My sister was 15 years older than me) I asked my niece about her sister. Her sister, T, is also several years older than K – don’t ask me how many, I have too many relatives and I honestly stopped keeping track because I’m at the age where they’re all still kids to me. T is grieving so hard that her life has basically stopped.
It’s been almost a year. No, there’s no timeline for grief. However. I was brought up by a woman who taught us to suck it up and get over it, no matter what. (She frequently told us that sympathy was in the dictionary between shit and syphillis and if we wanted it, go look it up.) I apparently have inherited her impatience with this (among other things). At this point, the unending grief feels like wallowing. (I know, I’m a cold hearted bitch. However, calling me that assumes I have a heart)
Conversations tend to circle around “How is T doing? I’m so worried about her! She won’t get counseling! (This is part of my impatience with her.) ” It seems that the rest of the family has been forgotten in the shadow – the spotlight is on T and she won’t give it up.
So I asked K how SHE was doing. She said she was grieving, of course, but had accepted it. She said she refused to build a house of her grief and live there.
I paused for a moment. I told her that was a very profound statement. She didn’t seem to agree, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot.
We all build houses and live in them. My house was built of distrust and betrayal and it took the Bear to tear down the walls and let love move in. So many build houses of anger, of fear, and refuse to leave them. I love this visual. I’m starting to look at people and events and think, “what made you build your house this way? What happened to you?”
What built your house? Are you happy living in it or do you want to tear down some of the walls and let the sun in?