Thursday, September 20, 2012

What Would You Do?

I don't know a single spouse who hasn't done it. I know I did, to some extent. It didn't help me when it happened because I couldn't have known what it was like.

Before shit gets real and someone gets hurt or worse, we all wonder what we would do. And sometimes this boils over into expectations on what should be done when a deployment turns horrific. Other spouses and even service members will openly judge the wounded, family of the wounded, or survivors of a deceased war fighter. I don't think people intend to be judgmental or totally batshit crazy rude but they are and they do. And it's fine if it's all kept inside, where it belongs. Or only talked about with people who will still like you afterwards. But actually saying ugly, nasty things to people living an actual nightmare isn't excused. Ever. I have experienced this kind of judgment myself. I don't know a single widow (and unfortunately, I know more than one) who hasn't been judged for how she handled her husband's death. Frankly, grief is a monster and makes you, temporarily (I hope), a crazy person. I would know.

But until you know, no one has a single right to judge someone going through a nightmare. I find it pretty disgusting when people go around talking about "sensitive widows" or warrior caregivers like they are talking about a high school classmate. We are people. We are freaking sensitive. This hurts. It's always going to hurt. And while I have worked really hard over the past year to bring myself down from my high-strung, anxiety-attack-having, blind-raging self I am not even close to being decent. Grief works on its own schedule. Grief is a nasty, mean bitch.

Do I sometimes look at people and think that what they're doing is weird? Duh. We all do. I am sure I have stunned other warrior caregivers with some of my words and actions. I've been stunned myself. But I don't judge a single one. Why? Because- and say it with me now- grief is a a greedy, stingy, moody monster and will destroy your ability to be reasonable for a very long time. I don't know what each wounded warrior/widow journey is like so therefore I can't possibly judge. I might not want to be around people who handle their grief in a certain way that I find is unhealthy for me- but that is self-preservation, not judgment. I'm not saying that people are entitled to rant like loons at all times, but it does happen. And you know what? No one can do anything about it. You can't hurry grief along. And certainly, as long as people live at a hospital (or literally, across the street from one and your housing is a building full of people going through the same terrible thing as you are), emotions and thought processes aren't going to be normal. They just aren't and that is how it is. If you don't believe me, I can't explain it further to you. About the only person I would listen debate this would be another warrior and/or the caregiver. Anyone else who hasn't done this just doesn't know.

I wrote all this down because I came across some widow judgment that left me pretty speechless. I think it's a terrible, no-good, karma-gonna-get-you thing to lash out at someone who has lost his or her spouse. I would pretty much think that these ugly people are in fact, real-life shitty people. I don't have a much better opinion of people who lash out at those like me and my husband(but they can redeem themselves, I guess, after further education). Even if a caregiver is inflammatory, even if he or she says something loony or acts completely nuts, no one can judge this. It doesn't excuse being a crazy bitch but I am telling you that reality becomes relative in this situation. It's akin to falling through the rabbit hole, and even the darkest rendition of "wonderland" can't compare to what this is like, especially in the early days of life-threatening injury. I still tear up and shiver at the thought of Aaron's first few weeks in the hospital. I never want to go through anything like that ever again. Ever.

So why don't we all just realize that yes, that outfit is horrible, and yes, that person just said something really outrageous, but we don't know what it's like so let's just all keep our mouths shut and hearts open? Sound fair?

I hope you all continue to have a great end to the week.

7 comments:

  1. Uncalled for judgements where someone has no experience? I am totally shocked...or not. Regardless of your best efforts, I don't think the emotions and reactions for an event like this can be prepared for. Kind of like a birth plan: it all goes out the window. Don't judge. I will say that the only time I become angry and judge at the time of a death is when the grief is over the top and causes pain for others. It can be completely out of control and disrespectful. I've seen it and have had to lay down the law. I mean, it's different because it was in a hospital, but it was irrational. I judged because I had to for the sake of others.

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    1. I super duper respect you as a nurse. I can't imagine the totally insane people and situations you have to deal with. If you can call it as excessive, I would be wont to agree with you. I bet you are a great reader of people.

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  2. Amen, Kat. -Sara b

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  3. Ha! 4 years out from watching my dad die for 4 days and I’m still bat shit crazy with grief. Whatever! People judge me, and I just never talk to those people ever again. Some of us deal with harder lessons in life sooner than others.

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    1. My father died when I was 11, which was 19 years ago. I *still* have problems. So if people want to be all bitchy about how you went through the loss of your parent... they can go suck on a donkey's anus. Grief sucks. Burying a parent before you are 50 sucks. I hope you heal a little each day, even if it's only a teeny bit. I can't imagine what you went through.

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  4. Amen... Hoesntly, I can't even imagine what you've been through and what people in similar situations have been through. I know I would probably do things that people would 'wonder' about so I'm no one to judge. All I know is, both my grandparents passed away a few years ago now, they helped my mom raised me so really, they were more my parents than my grandparents and I *still* cry over them, and have a hard time dealing with it, and I've had friends judge me but they've never experienced a loss quite like that, but like you said, grief is a bitch, and one that likes to stick around, at that.

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  5. People judge no matter what you do. I've decided they're just insecure with their own lives and need to make themselves feel better. It's the only way I can stop from completely losing my shit on someone some days. No one knows unless they've been there, and like you said, grief is a mean, nasty bitch. Even someone who has been there won't grieve the same way. Most people don't realize grief isn't something that goes away either. It's not these neat little 7 stages that you go through one by one. One creeps in, and then another. You make some progress. You might even skip one or two. Then one that you've previously passed will come back and suddenly bitchslap you out of nowhere, so you start the process again.

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