I hate microwaves that have the “quick minute” presets!
It takes MORE time for me to undo that feature and tap in how long I want to nuke my food than it would if it weren’t set up that way.
And sometimes I feel as if “undoing” is a great deal of what I do as a griever.
I have to dispel others’ expectations of what I should be feeling, doing or thinking.
I have to help them understand that unless you have been here, you CAN’T understand.
I pray they never understand.
But in the meantime, here we are, walking the same road but experiencing discord in communication, relationship, expectations and outlook.
Sometimes it’s ME. I’ll admit that up front.
Sometimes I am feeling so vulnerable and broken that the slightest misplaced syllable, the tiniest hint of disapproval, the merest whiff of impatience sends me down the rabbit hole of darkest night and endless grief. I receive things not as they are MEANT but as they FEEL filtered through my own pain.
But sometimes it IS the other person.
Sometimes they are thoughtless, heartless and unsympathetic. Sometimes they think that time has healed all wounds and that I should be “over this”-whatever THAT means. Sometimes it’s inconvenient for them to continue extending grace when what they need is a spot filled on the roster, a hand to help or a quick fix to one of their problems.
I have better days now at over three years since Dominic ran ahead to Heaven. I even have better weeks every now and again. But what a given day or week will be like is still not mine to decide. Although I steel my mind and heart against the sorrow and missing, one word can pierce the armor I so carefully arrange and I am felled.
So I try to help my friends and family understand that. I spend time (especially when I am less emotional) explaining what it feels like to continue to miss my son. I hunt down examples to share that may speak to their hearts and circumstances. I write this blog. I’m honest when making plans to say that I may have to back out at the last minute or only stay for a portion of an event.
In many ways it’s like having an infant again. When I was nursing my babies there were always things I had to say “no” to or situations that had to be adapted to accommodate the baby. Feeding schedules and nap times dictated my life.
No one seemed to mind then.
My current life is equally hemmed in by what I can’t control.
Try as I might, it’s impossible for me to meet the expectations of others. I’m not a microwave.
5 thoughts on “The Problem With Microwave Presets: Struggling with Others’ Expectations in Grief”
I am only 10 weeks into this terrible journey but I already see and experience what you are talking about. I will never be the same or care about the trivial things that used to occupy daily life. Yet few seem to understand that. They don’t understand that now it’s about survival not life.
I have changed so much that I don’t recognise myself at times…gone is the happy me whose life was wonderful…replaced by someone who struggles to get through the day…just the next 24 hours. Sometimes I see a glimpse of how I used to be followed by sadness as I recall who I am today. Tears are never far away it’s only the people around me that stop them
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I think it gets worse as time goes on as the disconnect of others expectations of you increases while your loss intensifies x
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In some ways you are right-I am stronger now and better able to absorb what used to knock me to my knees. But others are increasingly less gracious and less likely to cut me a break if it does. On the one hand, I’m glad “bereaved mother” isn’t the first thing people think anymore. But it’s still the first thought of every day for me. It’s still the identifier that is most salient to me. Yes, it does get harder in many ways. ❤