Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Don't Bite The Hand That Supports You


What a day.

I really hesitate to even post a blog right now because…I gotta be honest…I don’t know what’s with everyone today.

At first I thought it was just me. I woke up this morning after being up all night with a plumber who informed me that my upstairs toilet had decided to pay a friendly visit to my downstairs dining room by forming a “hello leak.”

Writing a check to a plumber at 2 AM and then getting up with tired, cranky kids at 6 AM does not make for a fun night at the Widow Chick Bed, Breakfast, and Bawl.

After getting my youngest to school 20 minutes late because my middle child decided it would be more fun to start dressing 2 minutes before the bus was scheduled to come, my day was off to a decidedly rough start.

At this point, I tried to take a deep breath and try and get on with my day. And where should I go to get a little pick-me-up before things really get rolling?

All of my favorite support pages, of course.

So, imagine my surprise, when I logged in and checked out what’s going on with everyone, hoping to get a friendly “eye” and some words of encouragement, and I happened to notice that everyone is in a mood.

And I don’t just mean a mood. I mean a MOOD.

This seemed to be across the board. Most places I turned to had people in some kind of funk, having a bad day (as we all do), and somehow taking it out on the people they should be turning to.

To tell you the truth…it made me crawl back into my bed and hide under the covers for a little while.

I know a lot of us are in a transition. The holidays are coming up. The days are getting shorter…today it was so dark when I woke up, I couldn’t believe it was morning already. And I know more people who have “milestones” in October and November I think than any other months.

I certainly don’t expect everyone to be perky every day. That’s not what these pages are for. They’re mainly for times when we’re not…perking.

But what scared me today were the emails I received. People saying they were thinking of dropping out of support groups altogether (and not just mine) because of things that were said to them. Looking at comments on other pages that were flat-out disrespectful and hurtful and realizing that on the receiving end of those comments were people who were already hurting. I’ve been seriously worried all day about the people who might be checking out online support for the first time and seeing these things. Because, if that were me, I might think twice before I started sharing my deepest thoughts.

For the first time in 6 months I noticed some people weren’t being supported. They were getting beaten down.

And you know what? That’s not us.

These pages are where I turn when I need someone. These are the people who understand what I’m going through when no one else does. This is where I know it’s okay to agree to disagree…because our specific situations are different and have made us different people. And that’s okay.

As we move into the next few months, we need to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, we are there for each other. No matter what. We need to take 2 seconds and tell a stranger, “It’s okay. I’m here for you now.” We need to know that whatever comments are being made, they come from a place of love and support and that whatever comments we are making are sensitive to what someone else is going through…even though we may not specifically know what it is.

We need to always think for just a second before we hit that “comment” button about what kind of a day the other person is having. And before we get upset about what someone else has written, we need to really consider what they are saying. Is it really argumentative? Or is it possible it could be taken a different way?

Frankly, when I think about grief support I really don’t see where there is any room for argument at all. Discussion…of course. We all want our voices to be heard and our experiences to be recognized. 

But there is no reason I can see to tell anyone on these pages that they’re wrong. Or that what they’re feeling isn’t valid. We’re not here to prove a point. We’re not trying to convince someone to come to “our side.” We’re all on the same side.

And there are some days when that is the only thing that gets me out of bed in the morning.


  1. Well, I celebrated my first birthday without my husband. I cried all day...the day before. I knew he would have taken me to breakfast and out for a fun day. The weather, the darkness, the beginning of fall and the end of living "things" didn't help. And neither did the comment from a friend. "Wow, you still feel like you are living in a fog? What has it been now...6 months? I guess I just thought you would be over it by now." After I picked my chin up from the floor of the produce section of WalMart, I simply smiled behind tearful eyes and said, no, the pain is still here. I truly believe people do not intentionally mean to be cruel or rude; they just don't know. And, I guess, bless them for that. I wish I didn't know the pain either. But that is my reality. I find support from the most unlikely sources; a young child smiling and hugging me in my classroom, a kind teenager allowing me to cut in line at the store, the naive clerk who gives me a senior discount when I don't really qualify, the beautiful sunrises God gives me each morning on my way to work. I choose to go on...and in my pain, hopefully help someone else. Your blogs certainly do this for me.

  2. Awesome!! I wasn't the only one who felt I had to somehow get it together yesterday . . . your bus scenario was not that far off from mine. Ya know I realized something cool yesterday tho . . . you have to be strong to feel what we feel. I always felt so weak and beaten down for grieving and healing. But I heard on TV last night someone say something about being "strong enough to feel the pain" I never thought about it that way. But when I did, I thought about all the times I could have ran away and dropped the kids off at gramma and grampas, but didn't all the times I could have been drunk under the covers but instead chose to get up and pour bowls of cereal for my kids and make their lunches and pray with them before they left for school, I think about all the times I chose to take an afternoon and walk along the beach and CRY and SCREAM and feel the deepest agony of my soul. I am strong because I have allowed myself to go THERE. I have not hidden from the pain, or masked it, or put it in a neat lil box and sat it on a shelf to deal with it later. Even in the midst of the sudden shock of my husband being killed and suddenly being a single mom to 5 kids under 8 years old, there was a part of me that just knew I needed to feel this deeply NOW, if I Was going to be of any use to my children. Friends did not and still do not understand. That is okay, most days. I guess I trust it will all come out the way it should in the end. Most days I am lonely, but I have a couple friends who are always there. For now I am learning to be content with enough. I use to be "Martha Stewart" now I am lucky if I have as good a day as Rosanne Barr! Prayin . . ..