One of the uglier parts of grief (not that any of it is nice), is that it uncovers issues that have nothing to do with the death of a loved one. The anniversary of Nathan's death is approaching. This time last year, he was in and out of the hospital, but I thought he would get through it as he always did.........unfortunately, the last time he didn't and he died on May 19th, 2013. I'll freely admit that even though I've been doing ok for the last few months, I've been in a bit of a funk since the beginning of April.
The only child Nathan and I have has four paws, whiskers and a tail. So I've had to lean on my birth family for support.....therein lies the rub. While certain members of my family have tried to be supportive, others just seem to want to add to the pain. I know its probably not conscious or intentional, but for some members of my family compassion seems to take a back seat to "being right" or "telling someone when they are wrong".
The last and most painful incident happened on Sunday. My sister yelled at me and said that my pain is too painful for other people to see and is pushing people away. She went on to say that my pain is killing my parents. That threw my pain levels back up to where they were when Nathan first died. After talking to a friend, she pointed out that I don't have a "grief problem" that it sounded like I have a family problem.
I started thinking about what she said, and she was right......all my life, its always been about my sister. First it was that she was the baby, then it was that she had the husband and finally it was that she had the kids. I realized that I was always the one who made the effort, while she never reciprocated. I was the one who always had to travel 60+ miles to see her. If I called her, she never called back or even acknowledged the call. I realize that when I was at my lowest points, my sister picked a fight so she could tell people that she tried supporting me, but that I was pushing her away.
In many ways, though upsetting, the realization is freeing. Its not about me and how I'm "grieving wrong". Its about her and no matter what I do, she probably would find a way to criticize and pick a fight. I still need to find a healthy way to address it - I guess voodoo dolls are out :-) But I can stop beating myself up over the fact that if I were a "better" griever than she would be there.