I want to share a real moment with you…one that makes me feel vulnerable and wide open to judgement.

I tend to come off as “joyful” after my loss and have been told countless times “You seem to have it all together.” I don’t and as far as the joyful part goes, well, I can be but it’s not all I am.

I’m angry.

I’m resentful.

I’m sad.

I’m insecure.

I am human.

I’m constantly working on growing and learning how to forgive some pretty important people in my life that really hurt me after I lost Mac.

I’m a lot of things, joyful is only a part of me.

This year I wanted to work on being ME and owning all that I am. I openly shared I was working on it and being comfortable in my own skin no matter how vulnerable it makes me feel AND putting it all out there for others experiencing this grief to see the real side to life after loss.

You can have joy again. You will still have anger and you might have to work hard at forgiving even the closest of family and friends that will never understand what you have experienced and why you are who you are now. There is no beautifully perfect “I have it all together” road after experiencing what we have experienced. It’s messy and you feel clumsy, tripping over triggers time and time again. Not many will understand this either.

Which brings me to a news story I keep seeing over and over again these past few days. Have you seen it?  I’m sure you have. A mother orca is making headlines mourning the loss of her calf. The baby calf died shortly after being born, sinking to the bottom only to be brought back to the surface and carried along by the mother. It has been days and she is still with her calf. People all over, including myself, are talking about how heartbreaking it is to watch.

The thing is…

This heartbreaking act of love seen and shared around the world has seemed to stir up some additional feelings for me. These feeling are what I vulnerably share with you. You may find them ugly. You may even judge me for them. But, the importance of this being said outweighs my own insecurities.

So here goes…

The world seems to be so empathetic and openly expressing how hurt she must be.

I get it. I’ve even expressed these same observations.

Where you lose me is…

How can the world have so much compassion for this whale, yet so easily dismiss how hurt we (human beings) are after our loss? We just “need to stop thinking about it” or “get out more” or “be happy with what we have” according to some.

It truly upsets me. It frustrates me. It leaves me urning for what this whale has… empathy, from what feels like all who have heard her heartbreaking story.

This heartbroken orca isn’t the first time I’ve observed this. We’ve taken notice of other animals experiencing the loss of their baby before this. I can remember elephants and monkeys making headlines and getting the same response.

I ask you…

How is it such a beautiful and understandable act of love for an animal or mammal to be broken and distraught after their baby dies, but another mother, a human being, mourning the loss of her baby for longer than your made-up timeframe allows is viewed as wrong? How are animals and mammals seen as justifiably heartbroken and us as “unwell” or wrong if we don’t seem to bounce back after a period of time? Why is your tolerance so limited for me after my loss? How is my loss different in your eyes?  How is my baby less of a reason to be heartbroken for the rest of my life? Why am I undeserving of the compassion you so openly give to this whale? Why can’t I mention his name without feeling you raise your protective walls preventing you from actually hearing me or taking my hurt seriously?

Is it because it could happen to them? Are they scared? Is it because knowing the depth of my pain is uncomfortable? Is is because they can’t “fix” me? Is it because they are no longer wanting the burden of feeling how sad my loss is? Is it ignorance? Is it just a matter of not having the energy to sit with me, in my pain and discomfort? Lack of compassion? I don’t know. 

I get it.

It’s only been days for this heartbroken whale… It just happened and people do seem to support the grieving HUMAN being, a mother, when the pain of loss is fresh. But, what about after a little time has passed? Why do I have a limit to how long I can publicly acknowledge my baby died? Why is it so terrible for me to remember him? Why do I have to keep my loss locked away like a dirty little secret?

You see the mother orca with her baby, taking it with her, unable to let go.  A visible reminder to you of what she lost, but what you don’t understand is….

I carry mine with me too. You can’t see him, but he is there. He is with me in every conversation, every celebration, every event, every rainy day, every beautiful day, every laugh, every moment I have had since his death. He is with me when I open my eyes in the morning and he is there when I close them. He is always with me and he always will be. You not being comfortable with it doesn’t change that.  It only keeps you from knowing all of me.

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