Progress (pfft…)

I spend a lot of time assessing and analysing my grief journey and I’ve come to believe there is no line or reference point to where you should be or how you should feel at any point after the death of your child. In fact, I hate the word ‘progress’ and refuse to assess myself with that word. 
Why? Because when I have a bad day, a step into the darkness it makes me feel like I’m going BACKWARDS, failing or doing something wrong like I’m not resilient enough. It makes me beat myself up and say “I thought I had made more PROGRESS than that” and question “should I be ‘further along’ by now?” which is neither helpful or healing for me to feel or think.
‘Progress’ makes me feel like this journey should be a linear progression of positive steps upwards. It’s not. And that’s not because I’m doing something wrong, it’s not because I’m not dealing with it the way I should be, it’s not because I’m stuck or abnormal. It’s because grief is complicated and a total b****.
We dance between light and darkness, peace and despair. A dance which often involves interrupting partners called “life events” and “triggers” and sometimes nothing in particular at all. 
So stuff the term ‘progress’ and let’s look at grief for what it really is- a tough journey with a rocky path full of often unexpected obstacles all of which we travel with a blindfold and a broken heart. Throughout this journey no one wanted to be on, deep holes are placed in front of us time and time again that we can fall into and then need to claw our way out. Sometimes with no help. And no rope. 
When we fall it’s not our fault. When we fall it’s normal. How long we stay down is variable. Getting back up is hard. Falling doesn’t mean we haven’t made progress. It means we are human. A human who has lost a child loved beyond words. 
Getting up and continuing to keep stepping, or at least knowing you will take some steps at some stage later on when you can requires a bloody gold sticker. We are all doing the best we can. That best looks different for every grieving parent, and to every person on the outside of these parents. Looking different doesn’t mean less or more, it’s just different. 
How much have I progressed? 
My baby died and I’m still here, that’s how much. 
Now where’s my sticker?


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