What do you think when you read those words? Are they bad words? What about feeling these emotions? Read them again and think… How do we equip ourselves with going through these emotions when early on we are told that it’s bad?
“Shhh. Don’t cry.”
“WHAT ARE YOU ANGRY ABOUT? I WILL GIVE YOU SOMETHING TO BE ANGRY ABOUT!”
“We don’t say hate. We don’t hate.”
Children learn the word “no” and want the right to say it but we tell them to listen to us and not to argue. Why? We need to teach them to debate, fight and argue. We need to show them what it’s like to win an argument and lose a fight. We need to teach them to work through their emotions. As the Disney song from Frozen says “Conceal, don’t feel.” Why is it so wrong to feel bad?
Like most people my age, my parents divorced. Adults at the time didn’t talk about the end of their marriage. It seemed like an unemotional wave of moving out, signing divorce papers and moving on. I am glad people got to the point where they could end a bad or unhappy marriage but then it was the unemotional wave of having to work to provide for the family not realizing their family consisted of children having to deal with their parents not loving each other anymore and too busy to fix the damage of divorce. We were shuffled between two different households having to navigate without direction while trying to keep it all together. No wonder the 80s were the “me generation” because it was the outburst of wanting to be heard and noticed.
When my father died, there was no guidance or therapy and within months, it was made clear we were not to talk of our pain or grief. I had the “luxury” a few years ago to try to heal the girl that lost her father but I didn’t have the tools so there was no healing, even though I was fooling myself there was. Now, I have to kick that girl to the curb and start a new grieving and not just for myself but for and WITH my daughters. I feel like I am being pulled in so many different directions. It’s like that carnival game with the big hammer and you have to hit the mole when it comes up. I HATE that John died, HIT IT DOWN. I am ANGRY John died, HIT IT DOWN. I’m SAD John died, HIT IT DOWN. Each mole I whack, the screen lights up with each emotion and I have to keep ahead of this game, not because I want to but because Izzy and KitKat’s grief comes first. When Izzy comes down every night and cries for her father, I can’t push her away or belittle her feelings. I have to be in the moment with her, hold her and let her cry. I want them to talk about it. I want us to work on it because this is their life’s path. I don’t want them to play Whack-A-Mole. I want them to know that it’s ok and not bad to feel sad, angry, bad, hate, pain. I need to give them the tools and either stand back and watch them use them alone or help them. Their grief will always come first and I have to keep that hammer ready for myself to strike my emotions down to help them. This is hard.