Saturday, 15 September 2012

Right to grieve part 2

I actually nearly didn't post this, now. But then, having covered a bit about my brother and everything afterwards in my last post, I think it makes sense to blog about the rest now. Otherwise it's sitting in my head as a post.

It ended up that:

As I mentioned previously, I got drunk and did stupid things. Some of these involved one night stands with dubious men. Did I use protection? Yes, apart from one bloke. When I was still underage, and drunk to the point that most men would have left me alone. I feigned sleep and he gave up halfway. Urrrgh. I will never know if he gave me an infection that destroyed my tubes, but the thought has occurred to me. I did get checked out at a clinic, but that was some time later. Teenage rebellion as will as nihilism - my parents are ludicrously prudish.

One of my sisters and my mother went into what I later read about as competitive grieving. Mum announced at a family gathering that no-one cared as much about my brother dying as she did. Which was probably true, but given that everyone had their own grief to deal with, this caused an enormous argument. Their relationship still hasn't recovered. My sister still occasionally says things in the vein of her being more upset than anyone else, and my Mum does the same. I have tried to tell both of them that all of us were upset in different ways. But to be honest, I'm just really irritated with all of it.

At one point during the aforementioned big family competitive grieving argument, I did suggest that we all get outside counselling. I was in tears and just really bewildered and upset, although despite that, I still think it was a reasonable thing to ask. We didn't, of course.

My Mum went through a phase of writing a book about her life, in which my brother dying featured fairly heavily and trying to get it published. I read one of the early drafts when I was visiting - by this time I had moved away from home and, while I wasn't at all enthusiastic about this project, at least I wasn't a teenager living in a small town with my parents and I had a new life of my own, so I didn't object. But I did try to read it, for her sake, and started ploughing through it. But, it was horribly written, dull, and full of spelling mistakes. I got through a few chapters at the start, and then tried to at least get her to sort out the basic typing errors and spelling, and pointed out that it didn't read very well. Mum went in a huff and my father told me I was being mean.

She did drop off a later edition at my flat. But by then I just didn't want to read anything, at all, to please her. I didn't think it through rationally at the time, but I think I was just done with trying to cope with other family members at the expense of my own emotional wellbring. I know it was possibly her way of justifying her behaviout, but I couldn't face another emotional offload and dragging myself through the whole thing again - I'd read enough, without reading through everything again. The manuscript got kept in a corner of our flat, and remained there for a couple of months, until she asked for it back, and she was evidently hurt that I didn't read it. But then, I just don't feel any guilt for not doing so.

There's all other stupid bits and pieces; my gran being diagnosed with depression afterwards and my mother bitching that she shouldn't be depressed because she didn't always send my brother a birthday card. My other gran muttering my brother's name whenever she passed his photo in the hallway until she died, which was several years afterwards. I still wonder what happened to my brother's girlfriend - I've tried looking her up on Facebook, but no dice. I don't think I'd actually make contact with her, but it would be nice to know she was okay.

I don't quite know why I'm writing all this now. I suppose infertility has been a major struggle for the last few years - in some ways, my miscarriages were harder to deal with than my brother dying, or perhaps were more difficult as there was a cumulative effect. Or maybe having the Boy has given me a chance to work it all out in my head - I have wanted to write about it all for a while, but never knew where to start. These sad couple of years in my life set me off in certain directions with my work and my fertility, and I think I'm only starting to get to grips with the ripple effect now.

Anyway. It's not all doom and gloom, at all.  I think it's a good thing I can write about it now. It's out there on a blog, rather than just whizzing around in my head. It was a bad episode. But life is generally good.


  1. I'm glad you feel you can write about this. My sister's husband lost his son (son was 21) several years ago. They were all (including my sister) offered counselling, both individually and as a family. I think it was wise to take it up. I'm sorry that it probably wasn't the accepted thing when your family was going through grief.

    I'm sure having your own Boy is giving you a chance to think it through - perhaps both understanding your mother a bit, forgiving her, and knowing how you would hope you would behave too.

  2. Competitive grieving....I learned something today! I couldn't imagine being in the middle of two people so upset that they feel the need to engage in that. It must have been terrible...

    I can understand about the book thing. No one can take criticism in stride, and your own mother too....yikes. I've read through a few friends books in progress. I don't have the heart to tell them it's not going to happen.