Six months after losing Mom I was expected, according to studies, to be over it.
Grief that lingers for longer than six months “suggests the need for further evaluation of the bereaved survivor and potential referral for treatment,” said Paul K. Maciejewski, Ph.D., of Yale,
Within those six months, I:
- planned 2 memorials for my mother (one in the US and one in Canada)
- packed up my entire household in Long Island, NY
- moved back to my home town of Toronto, Canada
- travelled around the globe for a month
- visited my family back home in Karachi for the very first time as an adult (our mother being the first in the family to have died)
- transferred to a brand new university
- lived on my own for the first time in my life
It was all hard as hell.
Yet, six months later when I was still grieving, the doctors had me evaluated and the psych decided that there was something wrong with me because I had not moved on yet, and I needed pharmaceutical assistance. I was 20 by then, and was in no position to question the doctors.
Looking back 8 years later, I see that I did quite a lot of stuff in that short time and deserve nothing but respect (if not praise!) for having accomplished all that in the six months after becoming an orphan at 19!
Indeed, we go into a whirlwind and a lot happens at once immediately after losing a parent and I really had no choice but to do all that, but still. I was passing all my classes, and managing one way or another (crying every single day was part of that managing). Yet, rather than be given the support or the recognition that I now I realize I deserved, I was told by a professional that I ought to be over it.
Eight + years on, I can proudly admit that I am not over it. And, I don’t think I’ll ever be over it. I have learned to live with it.
I have visited therapists, gone to bereavement groups, taken anti-depressants, done yoga, meditation, read books on grief…I’ve done it all.
This is what I’ve realized: This grief is a part of my life now, and I have somehow just learned to live with it. My grief is part of who I am, and there are days where it gets the better of me, and others where it feels manageable, just like we have good days and bad about anything else.
It’s a part of me.