We who have lost have no physical sign, no outward scar that says, "Look, oh look, can you not see? I have lost so much." The scars are inside. - Rise by Ingrid PolsonImagine being in a horrific accident where you lost your leg. You would be taken to an emergency hospital, where a team of doctors, surgeons and nurses would work to stop the bleeding, and repair what could be repaired. You would then be taken to a recovery ward, given medication for the pain, have round the clock care from a team of doctors and nurses and when ready, work with physiotherapists to regain mobility, perhaps be fitted with a prosthetic leg and be offered the support of a psychiatrist to help you come to terms with the loss of your limb.
And the extent of your loss would be evident to all.
But when one loses a family member, there is no support. There are no teams of doctors and nurses with round the clock care. There are so physiotherapists to help you get moving again. There are no psychiatrists who come to see you and help you adjust to life without your significant other (of course you can seek the help of psychiatrists or psychologists, but my point is that YOU have to seek the help; it is not forthcoming).
And the extent of your loss is not evident to anybody.
I realise I don't know what it is like to lose a leg. But if I had the choice of losing my leg or my mother I would choose my leg.
I also know there are people who have experienced much greater loss than I have (and Ingrid Polson is one of those people). But in my immediate group of friends and amongst family I do feel that I am truly worse off. That my losses have been more and greater than any in my immediate circle. And while I wouldn't wish the loss of a parent at this age on anyone, I can't help feeling that it's not fair that I have now lost both parents while most have lost none. Surely it was one of their turns to lose someone.
I know life doesn't work that way, but why me again?
How dare it be that our family had to go through this again! Were we not granted some kind of death and disaster immunity? And how could I possibly demonstrate how much I loved and missed my family? My body was not big enough to show the size of the scars, my failures could never be spectacular enough, there was not enough darkness in the world to wrap myself in. - Rise by Ingrid PolsonThere are those around me who have lost both parents, but later in life, at an age when you would expect to lose your parents. And their parents endured long term illnesses so it would not have been a shock to the same extent as the losses of both my parents were. And their parents died when their children were grown and able to support them through their loss.
Maya doesn't understand what has happened to her Nana, nor does she understand that I am grieving or what grief is. She doesn't even understand that her Nana was MY mother and my mother has gone forever. Maya isn't a support or comfort for me in the way I most need. In fact everything I now do for her requires greater effort on my behalf due to the large, painful wound I now carry with me every day.
A wound no one can see.