Thursday, October 24, 2013

even grief becomes a luxury

as i worked on my BA and teaching diploma during my 5 years in college i used to imagine how things would be when i have my own children. i had a clear image in my mind of me as a mama, which was weird because rarely i pictured myself married!!! it neither meant that i'll have children out of wedlock nor that i'll be a single mother for some reason. it was just that i loved kids so much, much more than i loved romanticizing about having a love story and a perfect marriage. sitting in class i used to daydream, i had high hopes for my 5 children and certain parenting styles and psychology schools appealed to me more than others so i started adopting one "mama tool" after the other...

i had no guarantees what so ever that one day i'll meet a man, we'll be compatible, we'll fall in love, we'll get married, we'll have children (a boy then a girl to be exact, later on i added 3 more children). i didn't have a picture of our perfect family on my fridge as some people suggest one should do to attract positive energy from the universe to grant me my wish. i was more of a rational person who only unleashed my emotions after a full security scan of the situation because once my emotions kick in then things would start to get intense and out of control, and OMG how addicted i was to being in control.

just like any dream come true, mine was actualized many years later, almost exactly as i imagined it to be, yet there were a few shocking details in between the lines of this story. starting with my distant relationship with my love, a cross cultural one with my fiancee, moving to another country with my husband, and a lot more "surprises" with my children's father (by the way i'm talking about the same man, 4 in 1). one of these surprises was discovered recently when i realized that i've never thoroughly studied or thought about grief and motherhood, and how much a mother is allowed to grieve in terms of depth and duration while she's still nursing or looking after two children under the age of 5.

having kids like my P&Y makes it extremely difficult for me to grieve. on one hand i can't allow myself to open that door for fear of getting drifted away by sadness leaving my kids with nobody to look after them and provide them with their daily and sometimes hourly dose of fun and joy. on the other hand it's THEM who don't allow me to shed a tear: "mama smile, why are your crying?" my son says as he sticks his face right in front of my nose with a smile so big and authentic (sometimes he fakes it) ordering my tears never to dare stepping outside the boundaries of my eyelids.

but a mother in pain NEEDS to grieve, when i know that my country will never ever be the same spot of beauty on earth since war and evil took residence there, i need to grieve. when i'm at church and a worship song touches this specific wound forever open, i need to grieve. when i see mothers with kids like mine die in accidents or get killed in war, i need to grieve (on my kids' behalf), when pictures of little angels are all over facebook with the three awful letters R.I.P, i need to grieve.... every story i hear, every picture i see, every prayer i say makes me in need for grief. but i've never imagined that sometimes in mamaland grief can turn into a forbidden luxury that i crave, yet i'm not allowed access into that "steam room", i keep longing to get in, allow my hot tears to wash away my pain, shower me with cleansing falls so i can see my sadness disappear into the drains, to once again taste the cold wet deep breath i take after crying my eyes out, to be relieved of the brick stone lying on my chest, just for a short while until the weight starts accumulating once again...

God created our bodies in a way that enables it to dispose toxins through liquids like urine and sweat. one can't stop this process without getting seriously ill. God also created tears for the soul to get rid of emotional toxins, so if this stops then don't expect a result any different than serious illness. losing this specific kind of H2O mixed with a few other chemicals is essential for survival, our need for it varies from time to time but when this need is pressing and urgent, then denying myself of all forms of release is excruciatingly painful.

as long as my kids are with me, grief is a luxury. i hear about mothers hiring babysitters when they have a date night with their husbands, or an outing with girlfriends, or maybe she's going to her yoga class or therapy session, but i might be the first mother ever to hire a babysitter because: i have an appointment with grief for two hours, don't call me, i'll be right "back" when i'm done sobbing...

photo cutline: clouds can hide the sun as well as the moon, but when wind blows these clouds away we can see the moon so clearly, then the moonlight will keep us company during our short or long night as we wait for the sun to rise... and it definitely will...


  1. I had my grief days this week, and it seems I did hire a sitter for that purpose. I do understand so well, Riham, thank you for this post,

    1. Thank you for encouraging me to follow your footsteps on this one... I'm still suppressing so much, the volcano will erupt soon, with or without a sitter, so I'd better be prepared. Thanks Kate.

    2. You need time for you to feel what you need to feel, we are people even before we are mothers, and we have all those emotions that people have and we need to let them out. Much love!

  2. There are times that I'm just not able to hold it back until I'm alone and the kids have witnessed me grieving - sometimes mildly, a few times rather deeply, and I've discovered that it's a healing moment b/c they are eager to comfort me and at the same time I'm able to teach them that grief is part of the cycle of life and that it's okay to feel, even if the world would tell us that now isn't the "proper" time. Naturally I don't do this often and it's not those times of grief where I feel like I can't rebound quickly- those are held in until I can be alone. But I think on some occasions, it's a great opportunity to allow our kids to see what grief looks like and how we work through it so that as they grow it's something that they know is normal and so that they have the tools to not fear grief when it comes, but instead to face it and walk through it - knowing that it isn't forever. Growing up I always feared grief, feared that if I allowed it in it would never leave; I'd never recover. But slowly I'm learning that the if I face it, I will eventually get to the other side much sooner than if I tried to avoid it. :) But I'm praying that you will soon be given a window of time to grieve, b/c you are correct - being able to have that space and time alone to grieve is so important and 100% needed for our spiritual and emotional well being. But if you find yourself cracking before you are alone then allow yourself some grace to grieve even with the kids, showing them that sometimes we have to shed tears in order to move forward. Just trust in the Lord in those moments and trust that he will be sovereign in that time for both you and your kids. Blessings to you! -Wendy P.

    1. Thank you Wendy for sharing your thoughts and feelings on grief, it's really encouraging to know that a certain degree of grief is "healthy" for our kids to watch or be part of.
      Sorry for the late reply, Happy New Year to you, if possible grief-free.