Grief: Breaking the Taboo

I wasn’t sure for a moment whether to laugh or cry because I failed to save a draft before an “open-tab-over-load” forced me to reboot. Thanks (or maybe no thanks) to Google docs my brain now assumes everything is being backed up automatically, so my heart raced when I realized this platform was different. However that micro-PTSD moment was for the best as it prompted me to modify today’s topic to something else I used to assume would always be there to back me up: my family.

Unfortunately by the time I was fifty years old, the other six members had passed away. (click on the link to see them again)…well, my brother with the blonde hair, rocking on his feet is technically alive, but he’s severely disabled due to a drug overdose and resides in a nursing home; its not much a life.  This is where the “Survival” in the Mixed Girl Survival School comes from I am the only member of my family left standing. And though the journey has been long, I have arrived at the place where I can hold the crazy-humorous parts and my love for them, while also holding the sadness. It used to be hard to talk about, but as I’ve risked sharing with others, invariably I have learned that I’m not alone: a lot of other individuals are also going about their day while dealing with illness, trauma, and death; and also there’s usually immense relief at having breeched the taboo.

Yes…we all know it’s there. The American culture, and especially school cultures tend to stress “grit” and “positive attitude” and that can cause not only adults, but children to feel shame and confusion about their emotions:

‘Grief can have a tremendous impact on a student’s ability to stay on track, stay focused and stay enthusiastic towards school,’ says Erin Kimble, a social worker at Indianapolis Metropolitan High School in Indiana. ‘For a grieving student, just showing up at school can be a challenge. And when they do make it to class,’ Kimble says, ‘some kids’ grief can turn to anger, leading to disruptive outbursts’.


So, as you encounter adults and children today, who may be pissed off, or depressed, or stoic and distant. Keep in mind that they may be dealing with a loved one who is ill, disabled, or passed away recently — or maybe not so recently — but it still really hurts.


About the author: Laurie

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