Robert H. Messner

Grief is a complicated process to understand. Partly because it varies so much from person to person, and because we’re not taught to deal with grief or educated about it in school. It also varies greatly on our individual upbringing and how our folks encouraged or discouraged us showing emotion. Then lastly it is dependent on the work that we do once we learn about our emotions and how to take care of them. What I learned when I was growing up is that we don’t talk about that. Meaning that there isn’t any need to speak about how I felt and I perceived that my feelings were unimportant to my family members. No one ever told me that they were unimportant, this was just my perception and it didn’t seem that far off because no one ever asked me how I felt it was always “how ya doing?” No one ever told me that it was okay to feel anyway I would like. Growing up in the Midwest, friends of my have reported similar experiences, including Amy. I think the reason that people don’t want to talk about their feelings is because it can feel very vulnerable, like I am letting my guard down and I am going to expose my true self to the people around me.

            I also want to say that the way people grieve is so personal and there is no right or wrong way to grieve. There is the way that I grieve which is like a long approach to, I come to the feeling and I sit in it until I am done, and then I move on. That is what I need to do in order to move through the stages of grief. Other people celebrate and show love to one another to better remember the love that they felt for the person who passed.

            Amy’s Grandfather died the other day and we have been in Illinois for the week and it has been an awesome experience to be brought into someone else’s grief cycle and to watch the family members work through their own processes and realize that there are other ways to handle loss than just my own. This has felt very intimate to me and at times, like I don’t deserve to be apart of this journey with them. I feel honored to be able to take part in the celebration of a wonderful man’s life and humbled to be let into such a strong family system. When I met Amy, I was excited to be in a real partnership for the first time in my life and now I am grateful to be a part of a much larger, wacky, zainy, loud, wild, interesting, and loving family.

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