On the day my mum visited the doctor just a few hours after me. I was scared. When she returned I quickly realised he hadn’t said anything (obvious I guess) but, what I suddenly felt was a lot worse.
She was saying how nice the doctor had been, how he had told her she needed to grieve and talk and that it was good for her. The problem is talking isn’t how I grieve but my mother doesn’t understand that people react to things differently to her.
I’m sure she thinks I don’t care, or care a lot less than she does because I am not constantly talking about it, or frequently bursting into tears. But because I don’t do this am I hampering her grieving by not being able to talk?
I get my feelings out better in the written form. And this is really a blessing for me because until very recently I had no way of describing my feelings at all and it made things very hard for me.
I wrote something about my grandma the night she died, it was for me more than anything because I wanted to write out some of the raw emotion I felt at the time because I think when I am being raw and brutal I write my best pieces. I am not a writer in the sense that I could write anything. I am only a writer in the sense that I can express my own personal feelings.
Here is what I wrote: (screenshotted for ease)
I wrote this for me like I said because it was how I felt. But after a week of seeing nothing about my grandma’s death on Facebook I felt slightly sad, I have a large family and almost all of my 9 cousins on there. She was an important part of my life and I hadn’t spoken about her this way (out loud) before. So I posted it on Facebook.
I got an incredibly positive response, my cousins commenting and sharing the post, friends commenting and offering their condolences, some just liked the post. by the next day I had almost 30 likes of the post. I rarely ever post anything on Facebook, the last time I posted was when I graduated two years ago. and prior to that when I started university. So it was amazing to see my post get noticed, especially when I am used to looking at my news feel full of posts with one or two likes.
But I have my mums sister on Facebook, and I know she would eventually see it. (my mum doesn’t use Facebook) whilst visiting my dad’s mum on the Sunday I received a text from my mum “Just read what you wrote about grandma on Facebook. It’s lovely.”
It still shocks me to see people’s reactions to my writing, my mum always seems astounded by anything I write “you should write a book” she says. Of course, its a parents job to make your skills seem far more sensational than they are.
I returned home and was off to visit my granddad (my mum was already there) two of my aunts and uncles were there and my cousin. As I walked through the door they were talking about what I wrote. “we read what you wrote, its so nice.” “you made us all cry” I didn’t really know how to react. I looked at the ground and just said thank you. Even my grandad said “It was very nice what you wrote, could I have a copy please” So I printed it off for him, and then I printed it for my mother and my aunt. And the more I printed and looked at what I wrote the more uncomfortable I felt. This was for me! this wasn’t for everyone, but my aunt’s reaction of “thank you for putting into words how we all feel about grandma! Beautiful xxxxxx” made me feel bad for thinking that way. I just wanted to get my own feelings out.
I had been avoiding Facebook for fear of more reactions to the piece, I couldn’t delete it now so many had seen it.
Then I had to make up the order of service book for the funeral service, as I wrote 4 pages and showed my mum for reassurance she said “Is there enough room on the back to put what you wrote about grandma?” I instantly said “No, I don’t want it there.” She asked why but I didn’t say anything. It was for me, not my family, not people I have never met.
But I feel selfish, for writing words and acting like they belong to me. acting like the feelings I feel are mine only when really my entire family feels that way but most of them get their feelings out by speaking.
My mum asked if I would speak at the funeral. I want to, I really do. But I don’t think I could do it justice. The pressure of writing something so meaningful and important is all too much for me. She doesn’t really understand that. Why would it be hard? I have already written something about my grandma. But the point is there was no pressure then. This was written for me. This wasn’t being written for anyone to see or here.
The Elephant in the Room