The NPE journey is full of twists and turns and is massively complex. Most of the time, it’s overwhelming at best. And as we’ve all learned… The regular burdens of life don’t stop to give us time to process NPE issues. Life continues on and we have to weave the NPE journey into our already complex and challenging lives.
We all handle things differently… Right? So here’s one of my coping mechanisms… When things get tough and the world feels too big and too mean and too much… I will often lose myself in easy TV with a predictable happy ending. Thank goodness for Netflix! For the last couple of months I have done this with the series called Jane The Virgin. It’s a lighthearted series fashioned after South American Telenovelas (soap operas on steroids). The show seemed to rapidly alternate between funny and ridiculous and heartwarming. And it was the heartwarming parts that kept me watching. Oh, spoiler alert… There are two different NPE subplots!
So my point in bringing this up is not to talk about mindless TV watching. It’s to talk about the wisdom that comes even from mindless TV watching if we’re paying attention.
Toward the end of season three, Jane is dealing with a loss. She’s having a conversation with her grandmother. And what her grandmother said to her stopped me in my tracks! I literally went back and found the episode and watched that piece several times. In trying to comfort her granddaughter, Abuela says…
”You’re in a long term relationship with grief. But it will evolve. It has to. And it’s ok to keep letting go.”
When I heard that statement, I felt like everything stopped… Including my breathing. I had to just let that statement sink in.
This applies to so many of us who did not get the happy ending… The parent who welcomed us… The siblings who wanted to get to know us… The extended family and cultural enrichment. We have much to grieve! And, if you’re like me, just when you think you’ve put it behind you, it rises up again and smacks you right in the head…. As if grief itself is saying to us… Ha! You thought you were done with me? I’ll show you!…And that’s when we get that sucker punch and we are once again reminded that we are in a long-term relationship with grief.
If you find yourself in this predicament… Know that you are not alone. There are literally thousands of us in the same boat. Also remind yourself that there’s nothing wrong with you. Their decision to not engage is not a commentary on you. It does not mean that you are fundamentally flawed or unworthy or undeserving. It simply means that they have their own issues and those issues have nothing to do with you or us.
Personally, I find myself playing a kind of hide and seek with grief. It seems to subside or hide or I’ve gotten really good at stuffing it. I’m not exactly sure. But it’s not my constant companion anymore. If it were… I would absolutely find a good grief counselor to discuss this with because I would not choose to have this be my dominant emotion. I hope you don’t either.
If you feel like grief has been your constant companion for far too long… Please find a good grief counselor. You are worth the effort that it takes to heal. Remind yourself of that often!
And again, remember…