The Grief I’m Good At Hiding

Flickr / Kathy Ponce
Flickr / Kathy Ponce

I’m acting like I’m fine. So people are treating me like I’m fine. I don’t know why this upsets me so much, as if I want people to read my mind and know that I’m torn up inside. I want these people who barely know me to be there for me, it’s quite a lot to ask of strangers.  

I’m putting my happiness into people that are guaranteed to let me down. Yes, they are good people. But they can’t be there for me like I need them to. No one really can. I feel so let down. I just want to scream. “LOOK AT ME. Can’t you see that I’m drowning? Why aren’t you saving me?” But, instead, I just put on a happy face and never ask for help. I don’t know how. I don’t have the words. 

It’s so strange how some words can be so hard to say. We speak every day, uttering a useless string of thoughts. We speak to each other about meaningless and irrelevant topics. It gets to the point where the words that mean the most are the most difficult to voice.

Asking for help, showing weakness, letting someone see the worst or most covered part of you is insanely hard. I guess, to some people, that’s an obvious explanation; of course it’s harder to say more intimate words. But I’ve never had much trouble opening myself up, until now. I’m an open book, ready to both share and listen. And it’s always come easily.  Until these three words: my dad died.

You turn to people for comfort, unsure of what you actually want from them. How can they not see that you’re actually drowning without the words to call for help? Without the questions of how you’re feeling, it’s hard to broach the subject. How do you let them into this intimate part of your life? But how do you not? It feels deceitful not to say it, but what words leeway into such a life altering moment? It gets stuck in your throat.

Then there’s fear of what emotions will pour out with the words. Will you sound too cold? Will you completely fall apart? Neither seems like an appropriate reaction so you just sit quietly, maybe waiting until a couple glasses of wine loosen you up. But as the words form and the tears fall, you realize there’s nothing they can say or do that will make a difference. This is your own reality and you must deal with it. A hug stifles the pain for the moment and once again you’re alone inside yourself.

People keep assuring me “there’s no right way to mourn.” Then why does it feel like I’m doing it the wrong way? Why can’t I just read some manual that tells me what to do and how to feel. I feel like I’m still in some dream-like stage, having to constantly remind myself of the truth.

I feel like if, for even a minute, I’m not thinking about it I’m going to forget it happened. I’m going to wander into some fantasy land where everything is okay and shove this sadness away instead of dealing with it. I fee l like I’m waiting to face something, but I don’t know what. I’m just waiting for some large outburst or a sudden suffocating amount of sadness to take a hold one day.

But I don’t know how to gradually deal with this. Part of me just wants it to happen now, to face the sadness and stop pretending everything is okay. Sometimes I walk into work and just wonder if all of a sudden I won’t be able to take it anymore, that I’ll let everything go. I know this is something I need to deal with whatever way I can and between the many testimonials I’ve gotten from others, I know this mourning confusion isn’t an isolated occurrence. But sometimes it’s just too easy to convince yourself how alone you are in your feelings. 

This sadness is not beautiful. Feeling broken is not poetic. I try to take these feelings and make something of them, but I come up empty handed because, the truth is, I’d rather feel whole and never write another word. Loneliness is hard.

Sometimes I’m so frustrated because part of me wished something to this extent of pain upon myself. I wanted to experience life, and with life comes trouble and heartache and pain. I wanted to find wisdom and a deeper part of myself through these experiences. But what I found was a scared girl, shutting out any experience, any person, any good that could come from this.

Coffee makes me happy, but I’m having difficulty keeping people that keep me happy around. I feel like I love too hard, or not at all. I fall instantly, or have trouble letting you in. I’m shutting you out. I’m shutting everyone out. I’m shutting myself out. I don’t know how to feel and I don’t know how not to feel. I’m happy but I feel like I need so much more. The trouble is, I don’t know where to find it. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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