Thursday, September 2, 2010

a discussion of grief. Not my best blog post, but out here none the less

Ok, take two, or maybe three of writing this one. If I don't get it all out this time, I will probably trash can it, so here we go.

I've been thinking, a lot about grief, this week. No, I am not depressed. No one close to me has died. Things have just happened.. I guess you could say it actually started off with Bubblewench's sad loss, but my thoughts of grief were really triggered this week because one of my friends/coworkers suddenly lost a family member, and was at work when he learned of it. And watching him go through that affected me. In mere seconds, I watched as he went through the denial, the disbelief, and then, that *moment*. The one where that dark cloud of realization hits. The one where you realize you are never going to see/hear/touch your dear one on this earthly plain again. And you didn't really get to say goodbye.
I've always, ALWAYS, been a sensitive to grief. To me, it is another emotion, all to itself. Sadness doesn't begin to cover it. In my mind, when someone is grieving, especially that initial, first burst of grief, they are at one of the most vulnerable moments of their life. They have just had something taken from them. Never to return. And they are there, on that brink, of either accepting that, or losing their mind. Some choose to lose their minds.
I see my fair share of it, in my line of work. I actually, purposefully, take care of the death and dying patients and families, because I am sensitive to it. I don't want to short change any of my caring co workers, but my river of empathy runs strong here. But when I am there, with those suffering families, I am not grieving WITH them. I should not be, because that would imply that I am an intimate of their family. I am empathetic to them. They don't need a grieving nurse. They need one who is going to help them get through the process. And I can do that. Well. We all have our gifts, and that is my acknowledged gift at work. And I wouldn't change that.
It doesn't mean I am not affected by the people and their families. Some of them stay with me forever, good and bad. The suicides really get to me. Thankfully, we haven't had many of those, lately.
But, I didn't really sit down to write this about work. I really sat down to write this so I could see if I could put the emotion of grief down in words. I still don't know if I can.
One thing that really upsets me, in relation to grief, is the media. They seem to think that freedom of the press allows them to go, and take pictures of people who are in that moment. I do not think pictures of a parent holding their dead child is beautiful, or moving. I think it is an invasion of what should be a very private moment. We do NOT need to see the crying soldier holding his best friend in death. We do not need to see the broken down widow's/widowers at the graveside, fresh in the knowledge that their loves will never walk by their side again. We know what death is. We've all been there. No one deserves to be published facing that black prospect. No one. I actually think its pretty disrespectful. But that's just me. I acknowledge that, and I don't look at those pictures. And if one sneaks up on me, I get mad all over again.
I do digress, I guess. Grief. One of the purest, most painful emotions we can experience in our lives. I have spent about three days really mulling it over in my mind, from all the different aspects I've witnessed it in. In my own family, as a nurse, as a friend, and as a bystander. It's different from every aspect, with every person. It depends on who died. On what died. We grieve the death of our pets. Our plants. Our televisions. (come on, you know that some really do grieve inanimate objects). We grieve any kind of loss. The loss of a favorite earring. The loss of innocence. Grief is not exclusive to death. But when death is involved, that is the darkest, most heart shattering grief, it would have to be, right? Its the most vulnerable. And it has me, thinking...


sybil law said...

Grief is insanely painful, and I don't wish it on anyone. It's inevitable, though.
Your patients are lucky to have you.

Daryl said...

Grief is intensely personal .. people need to work through it on their own timetable ... in their own way ... you are an amazing woman ...

Bubblewench said...

Grief is very personal. I'm amazed at your ability to be able to spend so much time around it.

Currently my ideas of grief are so all over the place it's hard to pin point anything about it.