Tuesday, March 19, 2013

"My year of bad behavior"

March 19th and we're in the middle of another Nor'easter with blowing snow and an expected foot or more of this white stuff covering the tiny crocus's I saw poking through the earth over the weekend.  It's not an easy pill to swallow for those of us ready for spring in Maine.

My year has felt a bit like this crazy weather we've been having ... storms blowing in and out with some calms between the storms ... on the emotional front anyway.  A lot of these storms have come from unexpected people.  Change is not an easy thing for anyone and there has been tremendous changes in my life!

From December 2008 this train of mine has been moving pretty fast.  Five years since Jim's diagnosis, three years since his death, over a year and a half with Dave ... if you didn't get on this train you've been left at the station.  I understand this has been hard for folks.  Me too.

But the fact is, there is good in my life now and I have found happiness again.  And yet, there has been some real hard lessons and difficult interactions with a few people of my world.   I've had some time to reflect on this a little bit.  I was talking with my good friend, Kristine, about some of these interactions and she said to me, "Mary, just remember the year after Jim passed you were still deeply in grief and this can bring out the worst in people.  Allow yourself some space around the fact that you may have been a little difficult to be around at that time."

Oh.  I didn't understand this.

Another very good friend, T, who also lost her spouse to cancer told me, "Mary, I call that year after E died 'my year of bad behavior!'"

OH!  It isn't just me?

I have ruminated and looked deeply into some of the behaviors that a friend called me out on.  Yup, I went into some shame around this too.  But after hearing from these other two women I've started to give myself a break .... and yes, there was a period of "bad behavior" from me.  But maybe it's part of the grieving process.

So why do I share this?  Because this was new information for me.  If you are recently grieving the loss of someone in your life you might need to understand that you may not respond to situations in your normal way.  Perhaps you've gone a little deeper into yourself and come across as selfish to others.  Well, maybe you are and maybe you should be.  You need to go deep, there's some healing in that place for you.  No need for shame around this at all!

And if you are a friend to someone who is in this place, I share this so that you may understand that your friend may not be quite like themselves for awhile ... a long while.  Be patient with them, come to understand that they will resurface at some point in time.  But during this time of "bad behavior" just let some things roll off your back.

It's not an easy place, for the one grieving or for the friends of that person.  But, a little understanding goes a long way.

Loving you all back,