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The Stage Of Grief to Remember

When discussing grief, most people stick to the five stages: denial, acceptance, anger, depression, and bargaining. All which are very real, and not as linear as we'd hope; they are moreso a rollercoaster of emotions that you feel over the course of your life. However, one stage that I don’t hear of often, is shame. When my mother passed away, I felt shame. Almost embarrassed. I felt nervous when speaking to new people who didn’t know my situation because everyone always assumes (especially when you’re young) that you still have tangible access to your mom. Then, when you have to tell them you don’t, it’s like a wave of shame and a gross amount of pity consumes you. I’ve wanted to bubble wrap myself often when telling people I lost my mother at 14. Like, can I just wear a t-shirt that says, "mom died when I was 14 with leukemia. Don't want to talk about it." At times I even wanted to pretend that she was still alive just so I wouldn't have to feel shame. It's almost like she dies all over again every time I have to tell someone I'm just meeting that she passed away years ago. I don't want their apologies. Their sadness. Their grief. I've had and have enough of my own. I think, and this is awkward to say, I want it to feel normal. Because death is normal. Grief is normal. I wanted to carryon our previous conversation like a bomb hadn’t just dropped. But it did. And I probably had to introduce this new piece of information to them because they were about to shame me for something I didn’t know. More than likely, they had just said something along the lines of, “oh, your mother didn’t teach you to cook?!” Or something like that. Most of the time, it comes from a more sincere side of a conversation, like, "are you going to see your mom for the holidays?" Or "what does your mom and dad do for a living"?" I would love to end this saying I’m finished being ashamed, but sometimes that emotion is still very real to me. Yes, even to me who wrote a children’s book about it. It’s something I wrestle with because in all honesty, it’s not my shame. It’s their shame that I’m feeling. But is it my job to tell people not to feel sad or sorry for me? Or not to share how they feel about ME not having my mom still with me? I guess I’m still figuring that part out. If you’re like me, and you’ve felt like this before, know that you’re not alone. I’ve been and I am right where you are, still figuring out this emotion with you. ❤️✨

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