An Open Letter To Those Connected to a Biological Child of a Deceased Parent (aka Me)
I felt compelled to write this letter recently as I move through my own personal grief stages. For the record, it’s NOTHING like they teach you online, in counseling, or in infographics. Nothing at all.
And yes, I’m making the distinction about being the biological child of a deceased parent on purpose. Because no one understands the grief on the level of the biological child who grew up with that parent - sorry, not sorry I had to say it. People need to stop classifying all grief the same or the same as the biological child’s grief. It’s not the same.
Coming out of the womb of a woman, growing up in her house, and being raised by her isn’t and can never be replaced by any other relationship.
This isn’t meant to be a venting session as much as a plea for your listening.
My letter to those who love me, from a girl coming out of trauma…
First & foremost, I appreciate you. I appreciate your love, your support, your asking questions, and your care.
To be honest, I couldn’t do it without you - that’s what I need and what I’ll likely continue to need.
So please keep showing up & being supportive.
I do want to address a few things that you may not be privy to, however.
One is that my grief doesn’t and hasn’t stopped. What that means is that, at times, my behavior may be questionable. As much as I’d like to think it won’t, it will. I have days where I feel very lost without my Mother and like I’m a moving piece of skin. I need you to realize that the day my Mother passed away, a part of me ALSO passed away. To be clear, I need you to REALIZE it, not UNDERSTAND it. They are different. I don’t expect you to understand it unless you’ve gone through it.
Please hear me. Part of me ALSO died that day. I’m no longer all here either - I need you to hear that.
And I’ll tell you what died…
Me caring about what people think.
Me making decisions for others constantly.
Me living in mediocrity.
Me living in scarcity.
Me being scared of death.
So not only might my behaviors about certain things change - I’m not the same person, essentially. I may carry on as the same person or even appear to be her carrying on her routines, but I’m not her on a soul level in totality. Something transforms when you lose a birth Mother you were close to. This won’t apply to all women or children who’ve lost or will lose their Mothers - but it applies to me.
This means I will make and be making different decisions you may question. This means I may do things differently than I did before without regard for how it makes you feel or whether or not you approve. I’m just being honest. I may overlook the ramifications of my grief on accident. I may seem insensitive or cold at times. Really, I’ve always had that quality, and it might be magnified now. I will work on it.
Also, because my grief hasn’t stopped, I may have emotional ups & downs I don’t tell you about or that don’t feel right to me some days. Don’t assume you know everything because we talk often or even every day. I may not call as consistently. I may not feel like texting. I may not want to hear your drama. Hell, I might be SPARING you from hearing mine. LOL….Can I be blunt?
My internal world is a wreckage, like my own personal 9/11 in my soul right now. There’s wreckage, debris, cleanup, dreams, horrible memories, wonderful memories, hurtful words spoken, arguments, fights, loving encounters, and all kinds of shit I have to now sift through in order to rebuild my reality. It’s a psychological & emotional trauma, and I need you to get that.
That means I may perhaps not have time to be as supportive as I’d like to be at times. I may be eradic in my emotional support of you for a while. It’s only been 4 months!
It’s like people expect me to just return to normal life after 90 days, and I’m not even close to it. I don’t even believe in normal! What the hell is normal? It definitely doesn’t exist now if it EVER did.
Something else you may not be aware of is that just because I was very very verbal in the beginning doesn’t mean the grief isn’t continuing. It just simply changes.
Much of the public grieving I did in the first 3 months was for my own benefit - to have the support I needed to get me through every freaking hour of the day. It was excruciating. And the only way I could process was with the keyboard. I didn’t know any other way to get through it. I had to share and express or I was going to lose it.
Now, my days are easier & I process more internally, but they have just taken on new form. And just because I don’t publicly share every tear I shed, every dream I’m having of my Mom, or every angry moment, doesn’t mean it’s not still happening.
THAT said, please don’t make everything about you - it’s not. And everything isn’t about me either. We’re all doing the best we can with the traumas & situations we’ve been given. If you think I’m ignoring you or our relationship is changing, ask me. It probably is. I probably don’t feel like I can help it much. Or maybe I can. But instead of shutting me out, judging me, or making assumptions, ask where I’m at at the time or what we can do. Or don’t. I probably don’t have the energy to have conflict right now.
I’ll probably end up coming out with the friends who understand this process in a year. And I’m aware of that.
Remember, that in addition to navigating the inner wreckage with spiritual grounding, I’m also experiencing NEW things coming in - my life hasn’t stopped in the meanwhile. I still have to perform at work and show up for my goals. I still have to try to maintain emotional stability. I still have to pay bills & make money.
Again - everything isn’t about either of us. I just need it to be heard.
You can’t even know the things that come up consistently for me through this loss. I think about my little brother, our memories growing up together, our disagreements as adults, the future things I know I now have to experience without my Mother, every single childhood memory. And now, I have started to have dreams about my Mom that aren’t memories - it’s almost like she’s trying to show me things.
Just because I’m not sharing all of this on social media doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. It’s the reason I’m writing this letter.
I need you to have more perspective, to come up in your understanding, and to know that my processing internally the things going on in my life aren’t personal to you - they’re personal to me. And I have to go through it.
I want and need strong connections in my life as I go through this process, and I will do my best to be there for you through your stuff too - I’m just telling you it may not look like you want it to right now.
I enjoy my life, and am in such deep gratitude for every moment. I’m very focused on my next steps, and I work hard. Approval from anyone isn’t something I need - especially now.
A plus of where I’m at right now in my journey is I have a newfound boldness. I have always been quite assertive & confident, but my boldness has taken on new form, and that’s good for all of us.
Thank you for being here.
Thank you for listening.
Thank you for hearing.
Let’s keep growing together - we’ll get through it all & thrive in the meanwhile. Love is what connects us.