In my travels through social networks, I ran across a book called, “Ten Easy Steps to Overcome, Cure and Cope with Grief.” Far be it from me to disparage someone’s work that I haven’t read – or even work that I have read if it pertains to their own experience, but on this particular day, 380-some-odd days after the death of my son, the title hit me as simultaneously ridiculous and offensive. In fact, every word in the title save for the last three rub me raw and make me wonder whether Wayne Weeks is writing from his own experience.
Since I can’t make it past the title, I’ll take it one word at a time.
Ten Easy Steps – Really? These ten things (are you sure there aren’t 13? Or 8?) To suggest that there is a set number of tasks that if you do them correctly and completely will eliminate the moments you lose your breath in the grocery store when you look at the Sunny D? And those times when you hide and watch a kid playing hackeysack in the park a little longer than you should because you’re secretly pretending it’s your kid? Gone. Just follow this recipe.
But wait! There’s more!
The steps are easy. No more bloody knuckles from grating through your feelings of guilt, shame, regret. For just $19.95, you, too, can have all the answers!
Overcome: For me, this word sounds like there is an end-point to grief. No one I have talked to in this journey – and one woman from The Compassionate Friends lost her son in 1981 – has indicated this is true. I have said before that grief changes you on a molecular level. Once you’ve experienced it, it becomes part of the fabric of your being. To overcome it means to rise to meet it and then leave it behind, but I know I never will.
Cure: Do I have a disease? Granted, there are more complicated grief responses that require the attention of a medical/psychological professional. I’ve had some of those and dealt with them accordingly. It’s possible that they will arise again as I continue to peel this onion. But I am not ill. I am human. A mother, who grew another human inside her body, raised him in to a man and then had to let him go. I loved him so much that learning to live without him is painful. I don’t need to be cured.
My apologies to Mr. Weeks, but he would have come closer to convincing me to buy his book if he had stuck with the final three words of his title: Cope with Grief. There is no way out except right through it. It takes how long it takes. It’s not easy. You will never be finished. But you will survive.