We grieve in our own ways and in our own time. Some of us push the losses into the dusty recesses of our mind and refuse to go there. Some of us cannot and remain in the immediacy of the loss, continually bombarded with it so that we are sucker punched throughout the day.
I've struggled with our latest loss, Frankie, and was only able to make a joke this week, regarding freeze-drying him an attack position. My struggle, my pain, though, has not been nearly as heart-rending as Rosie's grief over both Frankie and Ib the last five weeks. She cries nearly every day, and while she doesn't stay mired in it constantly, the keen edge of grief doesn't go far. As long as she's busy, she does pretty well, but in the evenings, when it begins to quiet down, the tears come.
Honoring her grief, her need to cry and to, thankfully, share her sadness with us is an important part of her and our journey through loss. So often as a culture, we are in a hurry to get people over their loss, to get them okay again, or to at least not keep bringing it up. We don't want to deal with sadness over a prolonged period, and so we push people who are hurting to get over it.
It can be difficult to stifle this need to just get her to stop crying and hugging her picture of Frankie. Finding a balance of respecting her need to grieve, to share in the mourning of the loss, while not letting her go too far overboard so that she wallows in that abyss is a difficult task. I hope we strike the right balance of validating her loss, of loving on her, hugging her, sharing stories of Frankie and Ibit, and then bringing her to a place where she refocuses on the present and the cats we still have.
Last evening, Rick and I held her in our laps and hugged her, and we talked of Frankie, Ib, Cookie, and Scooter all up in heaven playing poker for fish, and she laughed through her tears. Then we had Bobby bring Lucy out and into my lap, and Rosie and I focused on giving her love and attention, until the tears had dried and Rosie was focused in the present.
It's what we'll continue to do until she's assimilated the loss and is able to think fondly of Frankie and Ib without a fresh curtain of tears. Why? Because it's the same way I am handling my grief, honoring my right to cry and miss him before I go find a cat to hug.