"Grieving the loss of a child is a process, it begins the day your child passes and ends the day the parent joins them."

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Basement People and Balcony People

**re-post: blogger didn't post this...however, facebook did! Weird!**

By: Traci Cooley (Bereaved Mother, Tampa, Florida)

Shortly after my daughter Malena died, I started a home based business to keep busy. During

the course of this business venture, I was able to attend the company's annual convention

These conventions are geared toward encouraging and motivating the sales teams to sell, sell,

and sell. There are workshops and motivational speakers all pushing you into “expanding your

business”. As I sat through many of these speakers, most of what they said I related to

surviving the death of my precious daughter rather than expanding my business. Three years

later, one of the workshops I attended that weekend keeps popping into my head as my grief

process extends past what the world finds “comfortable”.

The workshop was called “Balcony People and Basement People”.

Basement people-are people who constantly pull you down or discourage you.

Basement people, in our grieving process can and do cause us much hurt and distraction. They are people who do not wish to hear about your child; they do not want to talk about your hurt, or actively help you go through the grief process. Basement people are also people who say ugly or uneducated things about your loss such as “Aren’t you over that by now?” Basement people criticize your bereavement or question every method you chose in dealing with your loss. Basement people make everything about them and their feelings; disregarding the fact that it is your child who died. Basement people can cause a lot of hurt (often, unintended) to you during your bereavement process.

Balcony people-are the people who pull you forward and along the road of grief.

Balcony people come beside you and cry with you, spend time listening to you talk of your child and tell you stories they remember, too. Balcony people encourage you to seek ways to heal and process your loss. They understand that the way you chose to deal with the death of your beloved child may not be their way but it is what is good for you. Balcony people understand when you do not want them around but stand by just in case you change your mind. Balcony people cook or clean for you because you just do not have the energy. Or, they do not comment when the house is a little (or a lot) messier than it used to be. Balcony people understand that you will never be the “old” you and help you to find the “new” you who will emerge through the grief and loss you have sustained.

Take the time to identify the Balcony people and Basement people in your life. Spend

most of your time with the Balcony people and try to limit the time with Basement

people; if possible. Balcony people pull you up, cheer you on, encourage you and take

care of you when you most need it. Basement people pull you down, criticize and find

fault in what you do. Balcony people and Basement people; we all have them in our

lives. It is our choice of who we allow to be part of our bereavement process and our

lives. I choose my Balcony people.

I found the above writings, on my online "Grieving Mothers" facebook page. I spend an awful lot of time on that page. It's the only place where every. single. person. KNOWS first hand, my thoughts and feelings. They all get it. They've all been there. I do have to admit, sometimes it really scares me when I read of other writings from bereaved moms (and dads). I see their grief that continues on for years and years after the death of their child/children. It makes me realize, this grief, is a never ending journey.

When I read what Traci wrote, I realized that I too, am experiencing this very thing. The "basement" people and the "balcony" people.

Sadly, during the course of the past 15+ months, I've encountered more "basement" people than I have "balcony" people. I've had a couple of people actually lash out and attack me (online). Over crap they started. Oh My GOSH, they were relentless, like pit bulls who refused to let loose their grip. I can't lie, it hurt me deeply. But, no matter how they tried to keep me riled up, hurt me and pull me down, , , to their level... I knew in my gut, what I am dealing with goes so much deeper than their pettiness. I don't have time for pettiness in my life. No time for those "basement" people. The ones who think, 'oh my god, isn't she over this yet' or 'oh my god, is she still whining about her daughter dying? When will she just be over it' NEWS FLASH~~ I. Will. Never. Be. Over. It. And it, would be the death of my child.

As for "balcony" people. I have several. I've been a bit surprised that they are not the people I thought, would surely be my "balcony" people. But, I'm learning...that people are often times, not what they seem. The death of your child, brings a whole new light to the faces of the people that you once knew so well. The death of your child, puts EVERYTHING into perspective.

I do understand that some people, will not be able to accept the fact that I am not the same person that I was 15+months ago. I m just not. I can't help it. I didn't ask for this change to take place. I sure as HELL don't like it and I want nothing to do with it. BUT..this is the way it is. This is me now. Either bear with me, as I find my way through this living nightmare and accept the fact that I am trying hard to find the "new" me. Or, become a "basement" person and I will leave you behind. Quite honestly, I do not need "basement" people dragging me down. This is gonna be a very long and bumpy journey for me and my family. While I/we find my/our way through this bumpy, twisting, never ending journey.

I will be holding tight to my "balcony" people.


Stephanie said...

I absolutely cannot understand people who think you can just "get over" losing a child! Argh! Makes me want to throttle them.

I hope I never turn into a "basement" person :( NOBODY can define your journey. YOU have to go through this and decide how things are going to go from here.

As always, we keep you all in our prayers. Sending much love....

Steph and Christopher

Runningmama said...

Wow, I can't believe there are people who think you ever could get over losing a child. Emily got a horrible infection during one of her chemo treatments and I thought for sure she was dying as we drove to the hospital and even though she pulled through I will never forget that feeling and so I can't even imagine how you must feel. Hold onto those balcony people for dear life! I am sure there must be no pain greater than losing a child! Thinking and praying for you as I know it must be hard to face the day sometimes.