Grief Makes You a Liar and I've been lying to everyone in my life
I’ve been lying a lot lately. I lie to everyone. My family. My friends. Co-Workers. Acquaintances. Loved ones and strangers alike. I tell lies all day long. Some are just little white lies. Some are just lies by omission. Others are outright whoppers. I’m getting really good at it.
The most common lie is in response to the question, “How are you?” I say, “Fine,” and “Good,” and nothing could be farther from the truth. I lie like a cheap rug.
When I was little my mother told me if you told a lie your tongue would start to turn black and the more you lied the blacker it would get. Eventually, it would get so black it would fall out. My tongue should have fallen out months ago. I’ve been lying to my mom a lot. To avoid lying to her I don’t call her anymore.
Grief makes you a liar.
You, see grief makes you a liar. This is especially true when you are a mother whose child has died. It doesn’t make a difference if your child is still a child or no longer “little.” It’s just as devastating when your child is a man. Moms are not meant to outlive their sons (or daughters.) At first you lie, simply because you don’t know what else to do and because the shock and the grief are just too big. In the first days, and even weeks after such a huge and profound loss, there are lots and lots of people around. All of them trying to help you. Often there are just too many people around. They all want an answer to the same question: What do you need? “Nothing,” you lie.
Nothing is word, I use a lot. A LOT. I’ll be having a “Son day” and Husband will say, “Is something wrong, sweetie?” Nothing. I’m fine, honey. Sometimes Daughter will catch the sadness in my eyes. “What’s wrong, Mom?” I smile at her, “Nothing. I’m fine.”
Hey! Where did everybody go?
After a while, it starts to feel like the whole world has moved on, and you? You are just stuck on that day – that very hour. Monday, 7 a.m. June 6, 2011. That’s when the coroner and the policeman came to my house to tell me my life, as I knew it, was over. Some people avoid you because they don’t know what to say or how to act around you. Some people avoid bringing up your son’s name. Some people change the subject when you mention him. Eventually, you don’t mention him as often either. Sometimes it’s easier to just not talk about it. Sometimes all you want to do it talk about it, but you don’t which is like lying to yourself.
More about Son and the process of grief.
Grief makes your world, and you smaller.
I found that not only does grief make you a liar, but it also makes your world, and you smaller. I don’t go places where I might run into someone who doesn’t know yet. I once told the biggest lie of all. I ran into an acquaintance, someone who was also acquainted with Son. They asked, “Oh, how is Son doing?” I literally said, “He’s good.” I avoid large gatherings. I won’t watch his favorite TV shows. I have a hard time going grocery shopping. I talk to his friends, and I am jealous of their mothers. And when my friends who have sons in the military post excited news on Facebook, “My son is coming home.” I delete it. I feel small, ugly, and petty and mean because I am jealous. They still have their sons. When other mother’s complain and rant about their sons forgetting their birthday, or denting the car or getting a “D” in algebra, I want to shout at them. I want to tell them, “Stop it! Don’t be mad at him! Be thankful you have a son who forgot your birthday, dented your car and got a ‘D’ in algebra. Trust me, there are far worse things that can happen.” But I don’t. I just let it go.
You are not alone.
- Grieving Mothers
Grieving Mothers is a friendly, caring and supportive group of women and men who will walk alongside you after the loss of your child.You need not be alone during this difficult time.
- Home Page – The Compassionate Friends
If you and your family have experienced the loss of a child, The Compassionate Friends can help you find the support, understanding and healing to work through your grief.
The truth is . . .
How am I? Well, I’m a mess. I cry every day. Sometimes several times a day. I miss Son so much it tears at me. It cripples me. It makes it hard to get out bed. It makes it hard to laugh with friends, but I do. It makes it hard to smile, but I try.
How do I feel? I feel tired. I feel alone, although I know I am not. I feel hollow. I feel sad. I feel angry. I feel jealous. I feel loved. I feel unloved. I feel numb. I ache all over. My heart is broken. I feel like I can not go on; I know that I must.
What do I need? I need a cup of coffee. I need good long talk with Son. I need a hug. I need a nap. I need a new drug. I need you to remember him. I need to talk about him. I need to know you loved him too. I need to know you miss him. I need you to not say you know how I feel, because you don’t. I need you to respect me, to respect him and not ask, “How did he die?” I need to go to the movies. I need a good stiff drink. I need a cup of tea. I need a long hot bath. I need you to realize I am forever changed. I need you to know that this won’t get better. I need you to know that it doesn’t hurt less overtime, so stop saying that it does. I need another box of tissues.
Don’t ask a grieving mother how she is, or what she needs. Don’t make her have to lie anymore. Just tell her you’ll be there for her, and let her know you can handle the truth.
- Sinead O'Connor - I Am Stretched On Your Grave - YouTube
Live at The Dominion Theatre, London on June 3rd 1988