Conversation With Grief

Emotions… Ugh. They can be hard and tricky at times. For as long as I can remember, I was groomed to shrug off the “negative” ones. They were seen as bad and unnecessary. They were also seemingly annoying and a huge bother to some, so I worked hard to stuff them and move on.

I have since changed dramatically. I now see emotions as tools, friends even, who come to visit, stay for a while and leave. They come to teach, hone, heal, bring pleasure and more. They aren’t necessarily good or bad, it just depends. I have learned to welcome them as friends and learn the lessons they come to teach me.

Now, I know there are people who are emotionally imbalanced. Some ruminate themselves into worse situations and inflate already horrible circumstances. Some create their own turmoil, completely unbeknownst to them.

I’m not talking about this type of person. I am thinking of one who has done inner work with God’s help, has a high level of (self) awareness and an understanding of who they are and how God created them. I’m talking about a relatively healthy individual, who is learning to process emotions in a healthy way and rid themselves of maladaptive patterns that helped them survive one point in their lives, but these patterns no longer serve them in any (good) way. I am referring to a person who is looking to change, grow and learn. I am talking about a person, much like myself. 🙂

I live in such a way that my mind is never too far from thinking about and/or talking to Holy Spirit. After a Zoom chat, I realized I began to experience grief. In lieu of being busy in order to ignore the uncomfortable feelings I was experiencing, I asked Holy Spirit how I should go about “welcoming Grief” as a friend this time around. Holy Spirit simply said, “Have a conversation with her.”

So, I did it. I got out my journal and wrote out the conversation as it unfolded. I hadn’t planned to share this with you but believe it is a good idea to do so. You know how it is, some things just feel private, sensitive and even silly.

So, with that, here’s my conversation with grief. I hope this blesses you,

With so much love, Patrice

A knock sounds at the door. I go to see who it is and come face to face with Grief. She’s back. Again.

Grief: Hello Patrice, can I come in and visit with you for a while?

Me- (Recognition, realization and acceptance dawning on my face all at once) Yes. Hello, Grief, please, come in. I suppose I’ll make us some tea.

Grief- Thank you for welcoming me in. I know I’m not your favorite guest.

Me- No, but I know you are sent when appropriate.

Grief- That’s right. You’ve come a long way. No, don’t try and mask that, “Then why are you here?” look. Let’s talk about it.

Me: You’re right. I am done with masks. So… I do understand you to be healthy for me. It’s just always painful when you arrive.

Grief: (Comes over to my seat, pulls out a set of chiseling tools and gets right to work.)

Me: Ow!! Why does this always have to hurt so much? Why now? Why can’t you just let me be happy?!

Grief: (Keeps chiseling) Happiness will return. Right now, you need me. I’m not here to hurt you. I am here to help you. See, you’d just as soon wear that filthy mask and slam the door in my face every time I come for a visit, and in doing so, you keep away not just me, but true happiness, freedom and love. Plus, you unintentionally invite others you’d enjoy far less than me, like disease and despair for instance.

Me: Ok, I get that. It’s just not fun when you come to visit.

Grief: I know Honey, but when you make room for me, I work very efficiently and leave you more beautifully healed than before. I won’t over stay my welcome and if you allow me to do what I came to do, I won’t call on Depression to join us. You know Depression doesn’t mind hanging about.

Me: Yes. I know… Grief?

Grief: Yes, Dear… (keeps chiseling different areas)

Me: Thank you. I know I don’t give you the easiest time of working with me, but I appreciate what you do for me. I know I need these visits.

Grief: It’s my pleasure to see you better off as I leave, than when I arrive, Dear. Almost done for this visit, ok?

Me: Ok

Grief: There. All done for now. (packs up and heads to the door)

We walk to the door together wordlessly, as words would simply add unnecessary clutter. At the door, I look up at her. She really is a dear friend to me . She stares back at me lovingly, unflinchingly, and slowly lowers her head until our foreheads touch. We both close our eyes as tears roll down my cheeks, and suddenly, she’s gone.

Me: See you later dear friend.

Jona’s Emotions

My 2 year old son Jonathan is an emotional little guy. Actually, both of my boys are, but my focus is on Jona in this moment. If something doesn’t go his way, he is liable to scream and growl and cry real tears. This guy gets upset!

Because my husband and I both have come from backgrounds that have not taught us how to effectively deal with our emotions, we don’t know what we’re doing. That being said, I am grateful that we are not merely doing what was done in our family (of origin), with our children. We are forging a different path, in hopes of breaking cycles of abuse and dysfunction, and it is hard.

I am one who looks at a thing from every angle that I can. This often makes things a bit more complicated.

Yesterday, Jona got upset and yelled and my husband quickly got angry and told him to go upstairs (to cry). This boy can scream. Here’s what I see.

For my husband, he has had whatever type of day he has had, and the boy starts yelling and crying about something that to Jermaine is minuscule. It’s frustrating to no end.

For Jona, he is 2 years old. His vocabulary and cognitive reasoning abilities are very limited. He is trying to communicate his needs and desires and is often misunderstood. I mean, the baby talks funny. We don’t know what he is saying, but he is clearly saying something because he says it the same exact way every time. (This is one of the reasons we sign with our babies, to enhance our ability to communicate during these tougher phases.) So, Jona wants something or something goes wrong, no one understands, he gets frustrated and angry and naturally, blows up. Who wouldn’t feel the way he does? The fact that it is about his kindle being dead is irrelevant, he has a problem that for him, is very serious and very real and I for one, respect and honor that. Yes, he’s a child, but he’s a person, deserving honor and respect, which unfortunately is a foreign concept for many adults. Insert eye roll here.

When I see Jonathan reach his limit and cry, it is upsetting. He is loud and I just want to help him. One thing I talk to my husband about is how we as adults need to learn to stop making the child’s behavior about us. Parents take offense, get angry and yell, curse, punish, hit, or whatever, not realizing the impact of their actions on the child long term.

Not only are you not teaching the child how to deal with their strong emotions, but when you do any of what I mentioned above and send them away, you teach them that you are not available when they need your help, something is wrong with them and their emotions (insert shame here) and so much more. Then, we wonder why so many adults have no clue about how to process their emotions. You have a grown man who, when he feels angry, stuffs his feelings because he doesn’t know what else to do with them. How long does that work, until he makes himself sick or harms someone else and ends up in prison or dead?

I’m not saying I have the answers, I don’t. I know Who does though, and I go to Him and get help on how to help my son and family with these issues when they arise. With God’s help, we can change things for the better for ourselves and future generations. The abuse and neglect has to end here. I am tired of it.