Out of the Closet- the G word

April 5, 2011 at 12:40 pm 8 comments

I was reminded today of how even those who are supposed to heal and understandthe Doctor– can perceive those of us who grieve. Lisa is one of the “sisterhood of sorrow”

Lisa”s Dr. informed her she was suffering from the Eeyore syndrome

Eeyore syndrome
“A person that is habitually or chronically depressed, sad, melancholy, gloomy etc., for more days than not. They are over concerned with their problems, no matter how small. They tend to have a round the clock “poor me” attitude. Being around these people has a tendency to “suck the life” out of others.”

I wrote the following as part of a comment on Lisa’s blog.

I no more want or need this crippling grief to envelop me , to come to the surface and erupt from my being with a flow of tears that make my eyes sore and will not stop. The sheer weight of the knowledge that I cannot “fix it” – I have no control over this emotional incontinence . We have been “punished enough” we don’t wallow in grief by choice – it damn well hurts- you don’t torture yourself by choice – don’t they get that ?

Depths of Despair - Christopher D. Ritchey

As I wrote the words by choice I was reminded of a friend . My friend was “gay” but he hid it well- I never knew as we played and grew into young adults. .
Years passed, we drifted apart different countries, different lives, until one day we came back in touch.

We met in the gardens of a pub, I was excited to catch up , to tell him of my life what I had been doing to laugh at childhood antics, only there was no laughter in his eyes, those brown laughing eyes I had known so well. He had aged beyond his years, face etched and careworn , there was a tightness around his mouth he looked like he was in pain Finally I asked

“what is the matter I am chattering on like some inane valley girl ( the term of the day) but something is wrong what is it? Are you ill, something is wrong

I remember him looking down at the table, since it was a warm day the coolness of the beverage had caused the rivulets of condensation to puddle around his glass, he seemed lost as his fingers drew lines on the table top away from the glass in the resulting wetness.

Lol ( a nickname – before computer lingo) , I have been in hospital, I tried to top myself ( commit suicide) –

Why for heaven’s sake – I can’t believe it – why? whatever would cause you to do that- nothing can be that bad can it?”

NOTE: Being gay in England when we were young was illegal in England until 1967 and in Scotland until 1980.

For years my friend had hidden from the world. He had tried counseling, psychiatric help, religion, even married to make himself “normal”.

As we talked and he realized I would not judge him or care about being “gay” he said to me

” I didn’t choose to be gay, you don’t choose to walk through fire , to be burned, to wrestle with the emotions and the pain and guilt everyday – all day- hiding from the world- I didn’t choose pain and anguish – people don’t understand-so I put on a mask when I am with people – I am who they want me to be – it is easier for them – as they don’t want to deal with who I really am but it takes it toll – my mum and dad thought it was a phase and I should get over it and when I am alone I don’t know who I really am “

Those words ” do not choose” came back to haunt as I read Lisa’s post – just as everyone grieves for a loss in our lifetimes and so has experienced loss – we the mothers of grief- have also experienced loss in our lives but nothing compares to losing one who was part of you , whose cries ushered happiness the day they were born and whose loss causes such pain that is without description as you watch them die.

The hardest part , for me, is relieving every day ( when trying so hard to distance myself) the scene that flashes before me waking and sleeping of my son dying , the colour slowly draining from his face , his heart stopping – I relive those minutes every day over and over and over again.

No one wants or chooses that torture- no one inflicts that pain on themselves on purpose.

We do not choose to live in a nightmare
We do not choose to continually grieve,

We do not choose to cry – there are times now that I think I am becoming allergic to my own tears.

We do not choose to be sad

We do not choose to make others uncomfortable-

If there was a magic phrase or treatment that would stop this all-consuming ache we would drink lustily of this potion .

Pills ? they mask and when they wear off it becomes so much more that addicts are born just to get through the hours.

There isn’t a magic potion –we did not choose this and we are dealing as best we possibly can with only a semblance of what we were left to us.

Do people really think we “enjoy” watching our loved ones as our own grief continually is a reminder of their own?

Do we choose to hear the hope in our own mother’s voice as she calls every morning -hoping that for once when she asks the question-

how did you sleep?



– won’t be a lie.

The grief that saps my strength so that I cannot be strong for my daughter who also answers “fine” when I know she too is lying.

GRIEF IS NOT OF MY CHOOSING or Lisa’s no matter what the “clinicians” say !

Nikki with a “real life” Eeyore
Eeyore be damned we are the walking wounded of grief……………. we don’t fit in the little boxes of chicken coop medicine…… we cry and hurt because those we cry for were loved as only a mother loves- totally and without judgement a love that was all-encompassing – and are mourned as only a mother mourns – totally and all-encompassing !

I will not apologize for my grief– it is now a burden that I carry – it is part of who I am- as I carried my child beneath my heart his loss now fills that void .

Accept me as I am if you care for me at all –
I will try not to inflict upon society the pariah of my tears, to cause you discomfort but I will not deny my pain for politeness sake – but I have tried to stay away from your world leaving my sanctity of seclusion only when need dictates.

I will, as I have been for these past months , “trying ” to find laughter and life once again

And as certain Drs. use cartoon characters to express their “diagnosis” I am reminded “not all Drs. are those that heal”– in fact some can cause great harm in their 15 minutes of diagnostic deliberation.

And my friend – he never did come out of the closet – he died alone by his own hand – a medicine cabinet of anti- depressants testament that he was true to his mask but not to himself a victim of a society – this way out of his pain he ‘chose” – would that he had not.


Entry filed under: Brit take, Chris Ritchey, death, grief, hell is other people, medical, Mothers, personal opinion. Tags: , , .

Forgiveness- revisted- time relativity Lorain Dude is Two – for Two

8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. dave cotton  |  April 5, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    Having lived with Eeyore much of my life, I can relate.

  • 2. Lisa  |  April 7, 2011 at 2:20 am

    Had my doc used the Urban Dictionary version of her diagnosis [as you did], I would have gone along with the “depressed, sad, melancholy” part of it. But no, she had to turn it into “the baby thing” and make things worse. [If I fit the rest of that ES definition, someone needs to tell me now, because I don’t need to be responsible for “sucking the life” out of anyone else.]
    When it comes to the grief, lately I’ve been struggling with living up to what I think other people’s expectations of me are. I am so sick and tired of having to leave my troubles at the door and put on a happy face for the world. That only sets me up for the inevitable “What’s wrong?” when I’m not acting like they think I should. WTF do they think is wrong?! Now, not only am I missing Gabriel, I’m reminded that someone else has forgotten about him.

  • 3. Grammy  |  April 7, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    Those of us who love you (both), don’t expect anything but who you are. The rest of the world doesn’t count.

    Lorraine, so sorry about your friend. I have some friends that have fortunately said, this is who I am, take it or leave it. I wish your friend had had that option.

  • 4. Loraine Ritchey  |  April 7, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    Grammy different days and times and unfortunately by the time that he would have been “accepted” the damage and the lie had been too entrenched.

    This morning I have had my tears , washed my eyes with allergy drops put on my “meeting personna” done the makeup will face the world outside m my front door. swallow hard , plant the smile .do what I have to do come home discard the costume of act one and wait in the weings until the next call – on stage in 5 Loraine……… trouble is the play doesn’t end…… and the role cast is above my talent and ability ……….

    Lisa we know , those of us who walk your journey… and silently scream through our smiles….. I wish I had words of wisdom – I have none and I have to stop typing because the eyes are starting to water and I have no time to “re do the “make-up ….”

  • 5. Carolyn  |  April 8, 2011 at 3:20 am

    I too am having a hard time this week, as it was one year on Monday since my sister died on Easter. I just don’t know how to get past the hurt.She had just become a grandmother for the first time ten months before her death. Her granddaughter, Cesia, has red hair just as my sister did. Just a little reminder her.

  • 6. Mark  |  April 8, 2011 at 4:04 am

    I feel for your friend, Loraine, because too many people think that gays “choose” that lifestyle. WHY would people choose to be persecuted, shunned, abused and humiliated? Even certain facets of the church believe that it’s a choice-thing. What a crock.

    I don’t know anyone that suffers from Eeyore Syndrome, especially not you, Lisa. If anything, you’ve been somewhat hesitant to grieve and deal with it in your own way. You’ve been kinda afraid to discuss it on your blog, for fear that people will stop coming by. You already know what I have to say about that, so I won’t go into it again.

    No one but the people that have lost a child can relate to the pain and loss and the incredible hole that it leaves in their lives and their hearts. Everyone grieves their own way. For anyone to tell someone else to ‘get over it’ or ‘can’t you think of something else?’ is heartless and unthinking and needs to be dismissed with the wave of a hand.

    I’m always here for anyone that needs an ear and I’d like to think that those people know it.

  • 7. Lisa  |  April 9, 2011 at 1:22 am

    I’m more “reluctant” than “kinda afraid”.
    Working on that 🙂

  • […] In essence that is what the American Psychiatric Association now decides as they pigeon-hole we who have lost: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/04/05/out-of-the-closet-the-g-word/ […]

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