Do You Grieve?

I want to grieve. I want to have the freedom to grieve without being judged or called weak. I want to have the freedom to sit in my house and cry all day without feeling like I am annoying my girlfriends. Sad to say that some of my girls are not equipped to comfort a greiving friend in any situation. The immediate response is for their grieving friend to “toughen up girl” or get “over it”. What if it is not time to toughen up? They refuse to let themselves appear to be weak and let the shell down to comfort someone else. If they do then the thought is that the person should quickly get over it. I want to be able to talk to about my emotions without feeling as if I am going to be labeled weak. Sometimes I do not want my reaction to be anger. Sometimes I want to allow myself to be vulnerable. I want to have the freedom to be sad without being told that I am being weak or I need to toughen up if I am crying.

I am currently dealing with the death of my Grandmother. Wait let me rephrase that. She was more than a Grandmother. She was my confidant, home girl, ride or die. She was my best friend. A dynamic part of the reason I am the woman I am today. In dealing with this loss, I am finding that many of my girlfriends, and some family members are expecting me to “hurry up and get over it” or would rather not deal with the situation at all because they feel that by embracing me it would make them appear to be weak as well and they cannot embrace that feeling. In the Black culture and especially among other Black women it is frowned upon when a Black woman shows emotional vulnerability. She is expected to simply pick up and get over it. Take for example when a Black woman ends a long term relationship. While some other women from other cultures are allowed to fall out, cry, be depressed. Their friends are understanding of their grief and do no judge them or expect them to “hurry up and get over it”. As opposed to some Black women who experience heartbreak and are told by their girlfriends “girl get over it” or “he wasn’t even all that”. God forbid that in a moment of vulnerability that you are seen crying by your peers. Oh no. You have truly committed sin.

In the Black culture there is a stigma that the Black woman is expected to be strong at all times. In many situations she is the backbone in families and homes so she had to be strong. I understand it and I truly feel that there is nothing wrong with being strong. However, in being strong there should also be an allowance for being a whole person. A whole person is not always tough, does not always respond in anger when she feels hurt, is comfortable with taking the time to grieve over a lost loved one without feeling weak or as if she is inconveniencing others around her. Black women we are not machines, or shells without hearts, emotions, and deep feelings. It should not be an issue for you to take your time in grieving. Grieve over the man you thought you were going to spend the rest of your life with. If you are feeling sad then allow yourself time to be sad. Your immediate reaction does not have to be anger. It is a defense mechanism that is wrongly perceived as strength. A strong woman allows herself to cry, or feel weak if that is how she feels and she grows from it and keeps it moving. She should be allowed the time to heal and be angry, be sad, emotional, just as any other woman from any other race would. Grieving is a healthy way to allow yourself the time needed to fully recover from a situation. No one should ignore it and mock the act of toughness while whatever is bothering you eats at your insides and later appears as some form of heart disease of high blood pressure. Ask yourself, do you grieve? I do.

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  1. LJ, this post made me smile, laugh and cry. I understand your pain and please know that you can cry all you want with me- no judgments. We will cry together as a matter of fact. The tissue is one me 🙂

    … and to answer the question. I do grieve- but I admit to doing it privately. I rarely share pain with others because I simply do not want to burden others and yes, because they need me to be their rock and how can I be strong for them if they see me weak.

    Luckily for me, I have one great friend who allows me to just be myself and let it all out… I call him Jesus.

  2. I so sympathize with you right now and I am so very sorry for your loss. Just recently, my grandfather passed. 🙁

    I grieve, in private but I do it.
    I’m fortunate to have family and friends who understand and allow it for however long. Even if it was until the end of my days and no matter what it was over, they’re just supportive and patient like that.

    I’m exactly like my support system. My college aged/attending cousin is currently dealing with a terrible heartbreak.
    It happened a little over a month ago but she’ll still call and text when that hurts appears suddenly for some unknown (or known) reason. I just listen if it seems that’s all she needs, advise if I need to, bash ole’ dude with her if that’s what she wants but I never let her go w/o letting her know that I’m here for her and always will be. I know first hand how badly it hurts to lose someone. Whether it was The Good Lord calling them home, him being an ashhole 😉 or friends just growing apart. You can’t put a time limited on hurt.
    Now there is a difference between taking a break to reflect on a loss and bringing your world to a complete halt to do nothing but mourn a loss. But yeah, it’s important to grieve as one feels they need to.

    You’re in my prayers LJ.

  3. Hey Sistas and Happy New Year!!!

    Grieving is a necessary part of life that at some point in time we must all go through. Make a decision to do just that, GRIEVE!!!! When I lost my father back in ’96 I felt much like you and allowed other people to tell me to be “strong” but what I learned in that is being strong is not just “being tough”. Most strenght comes from your greatest weakness and vulnerabilites.

    Take your time, grieve as long as you need but don’t wollow in it and don’t let it cripple you. Make time to remember all of things that make you miss your grandmother and learn from this experienece.

    Sista I love you and you are definitely in my prayers.

    P.S. “Sista” I’ve got an extra box of Kleenex in case you run out!!! 🙂

    Ladies: Happy New Year

  4. I think grieving is important for the soul. When you lose someone, you have to take as much time as you need to grieve their loss. I lost my father about a year and a half ago and am still grieving his death. Only God knows when I’ll be fully healed. People that don’t allow other people to grieve are immature and insensitive. Take as much time to grieve your granny’s death (and sorry for your loss). You have to take time for yourself to heal.

  5. My prayers are certainly with you. I can not imagine what you are going through, but know that your internet “sistas” gotcha back, and I will be praying for you during this time.

    While I was reading your article, I can totally, totally relate. I found out my then fiance`, and childs father not only cheated on me, but impregnated a girl who stayed in the same apartments as I did. Of course you can imagine how I felt. Instead of being there for me, my friends told me the same thing “Just get over it”, “so what, now its time to move on”, “just let it go”. And the worse one was “I got over my boyfriend in a couple weeks, why she cant?!”

    You can imagine that all those friends are now long gone out of my life. Friends dont act like that, and even if that is how they feel, they dont express it, verbally, to you during your time of pain, hurt and confusion! My so called friends talked about me more than my haters did! But if I didnt go through it, I would never know Jesus. So I am thankful for all of those fake friends, for God have exalted me above all, and calls me favored.

    Stay strong. All things work to the good, I know it may be hard to understand now, but you will get through this. Keep praying!

  6. Thank you so much for posting this. I too am sorry about your grandmother. Take all the time you need to grieve. No one has the right to tell you to “get over it” because we all feel things differently.
    I am grieving a relationship right now. I know it does not compare to a death in any way but it still aches to the point where my heart is raw. We should be able to feel how we feel for however long it takes. Let it out. At least you can do it in peace in a place of your own.
    Angela- GURL how are you getting through this? I have been trying to deal with my situation but you sound so strong. I am going to say an extra “Thank you Jesus” for Angela’s strength tonight because you are a bad sista.

  7. Teek- All I can say is it was nothing but GOD, and no one else! It was when I realized when I had nobody, was when I realized Jesus was all I needed. His strength was made perfect in my weakness. This happened in 2007, but it still affects me. But it made me the woman I am today! Of course I had my sleepless nights, crying myself to sleep, not eating, depression, even suicidal thoughts, but that’s when God showed up and showed out! He rescued me in my brokeness, and He put every single piece of my heart back together again. You should listen to James Fortune and FIYA song called “I wouldn’t know you”. It is such a powerful song, singing about how I wouldn’t know the Lord if I never cried at night, if I never had a broken heart, if my friends never turned there back on me, I would never know that He is there for me always!!!!

  8. Angela I am gonna have to find this song and listen to it. I need healing. I hope you have a HAPPY 2010 and then some.

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