Let Me Grieve.

Before launching into the final examination of why I’m not married, a little context.

When I turned 35, I started to grieve and mourn over the realization I would never have children. I did the math and realized if I’d even be able to get pregnant, the risk to both me and the baby was not something I wanted to take. So I let myself grieve that loss.
Only recently have I realized it’s time for me to grieve another loss–the loss of hope that I will ever marry. I’ve researched a little about this idea, and there’s actually a term for it: disenfranchised grief. (Sorry for the Oprah link–it’s the most user-friendly explanation I found.)

Basically, it means that society denies me the opportunity to mourn a loss that it deems as not really my right to mourn. At my age, mourning the loss of ever having children is no longer disenfranchised; I have medicine on my side there.

But as I float this idea past people, that I need to mourn the loss of a life I really thought I would have as a wife, I’m met with well-meaning “comforts” such as “you can’t give up hope” or “trust in God’s timing.”

These phrases–and others like them–do not help.

They feel patronizing. They minimize my grief. And on some level, I wonder if those well-meaning comforts are offered more to reassure the speaker than me. After all, if their own world view is such that marriage is the end-all, be-all to life, and I’m standing in front of them unmarried, I can imagine the confusion that might follow.

This grief has been bubbling up for quite some time, and it’s only in the past month that I’ve been bold enough to say out loud (and publish here) that I think mourning that loss is necessary to my survival.

I’m not walking around in sackcloth and ashes with a terminal frown on my face. I usually laugh every day, I still function just fine, and I definitely don’t need pity. But as I move through the Kubler-Ross stages of grief, I look forward to acceptance and what that will mean for me.

One last note: today as I drove to the grocery store, I thought about these past couple of posts and why I would make them public for my tens of readers. And I guess part of it is to soften the ground for when my book comes out this fall, as the book is a memoir of significant relationships in my life. That’s pretty personal. But part of why I’m (over)sharing is because I am just done playing nice and happy and hopeful when it comes to my marital status.

And if you are uncomfortable or don’t like it, then go read someone else’s blog.

3 Comments

  1. Hope it is okay that i laughed at the very end. You are a good writer. I find the older i get the more i have to mourn and this is coming from someone married with children. I think passing forty makes me realize how many dreams and what-ifs are past hope. Seems to make me feel old more than the gray hairs do.

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  2. Hope it is okay that i laughed at the very end. You are a good writer. I find the older i get the more i have to mourn and this is coming from someone married with children. I think passing forty makes me realize how many dreams and what-ifs are past hope. Seems to make me feel old more than the gray hairs do.

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