Mar 18, 2014

Grief Doesn't Come With A Handbook

It's a miracle that both of my parents are still sane. Having three kids under five must have been a circus most of the time. Heck, sometimes have two almost five years apart is more than my feeble mind can process. One thing I always remember my mom saying when we got in trouble or we were trying to reason through some family issue was "Maybe that was the wrong parenting move, but you guys didn't come with a handbook on how to parent you."
She's repeated the same thing to me when I became a parent and I would call her about whether or not some behavior issue of mine or my child(ren) was adoption related or a personality conflict.

"Linz, go with your gut because God doesn't bring kids with a handbook."

She wasn't kidding.

Grief is the damnest thing I've ever been dealt. It strikes me in the most inopportune, ridiculous places in a day. A parent screaming during my 5 year old's basketball game sent me into a full blown panic and a house full of guests playing cards, led me to crying in my bathroom. Neither of these instances have any explainable reasoning. Maybe it was the undue pressure parents were placing on their children during the game and perhaps it was the most merriment I had felt in weeks made me feel guilty, but grief is definitely getting the blame.

Just as children don't come with a handbook about parenting, neither does death have a guide for how we are supposed to grieve. Tears will find me in the oddest times and sadness can creep inside my heart while there is still a smile on my face. I sometimes catch myself wondering "is this normal? Am I supposed to react like that?" But then nothing about death and living with the loss of someone you love is normal and since no one has written the handbook on grief, I'm giving myself the grace to muddle my own way through.

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