What You Call Being Strong, I Call Being in ShockSep 12, 2022
What you call being strong, I call being in shock.
What you call inspirational, I call survival.
What you call powerful, I call no other choice.
And what you call “stuck”, I call the grit and the courage to actually face my loss.
There are many misconceptions when it comes to life-altering loss. Things that look one way on the surface, but really mean a whole lot more once you dig just a bit.
Early on after Brian died, I was often told how strong I was. The truth is, I felt more broken than I ever had before.
Shock is an incredible thing. But it should not be misinterpreted as strength.
These days, I don’t mind the label “strong” as much, because I’ve faced my grief, navigated other people’s judgements, and been through so much I am proud of over the past three years. But, early on, I felt invisible when people called me this. I was falling apart in every possible way.
It’s important to notice the labels people put on us when we go through something that scares them. How interesting, how quickly they yearn to see us as an inspiration. They don’t want to think about how hard it really is.
They would tell me that they couldn’t survive what I was surviving. That they would have died if their partner died. That they couldn’t even imagine it.
I always had the same thought, “You would survive if you had to. You would have no other choice if you actually wanted to keep living. And you can imagine, you just don’t want to.”
And then, the kicker, when you actually face your loss, when you are still impacted by it one, two, five, seven years down the line, that’s when the judgement really begins. And ironically, for me, that’s when the courage, strength, and inspirational-worth living actually began.
Processing great loss takes an immense amount of time and effort. It cycles back again and again, bringing us to our knees. We must face it and integrate it, bit by bit. This is the reality of a loss such as this.