Five Minute Friday: WHY

Welcome to this week’s Five Minute Friday. Our instructions, via creator Kate Motaung: “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.”

Five Minute Friday

Today’s prompt: WHY

“Why aren’t you crying harder?”

This is the worry the author of the current book I’m reading, The Girl with Seven Names, had when she was gathered with her schoolmates after learning of the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

She said (I’m paraphrasing here…) “My survival skills kicked in. Everyone else was crying hard and I wasn’t. I knew I would be singled out for not being distraught enough.” (Fast forward to later when peers of hers who weren’t considered “upset enough” were punished, some by hanging (I think — it was an audiobook and I was in traffic!). She put on her best thespian skills and worked up the look of grief. She was not ultimately punished. (This article talks about that time in North Korea.)

I was talking with dear lifelong friends tonight about our expectations of what happens when a loved one is dying and afterwards. I was commenting about how none of the three deaths I’ve experienced between my mother-in-law, my father-in-law and now my mom has fit that stereotypical “passed peacefully surrounded by family” vision that is so frequently referred to in obituaries.

The background thought in my head was “why am I not crying more?” I can’t explain that very well. I adored my mother and appreciated her more than she ever fully understood. But the last few years have given me a different perspective on death than I had prior to these three deaths.

[End of five minutes]

There is an entire different set of “why” questions related to how the events of the past two months ended with her death, but those are not likely to ever have clear answers.

For now, my personal approach isn’t so much to ask why I am grieving the way I am grieving, but to ask how I can best serve my father through a searing transition and what I can do to carry on her legacy of intelligence, kindness, patience, and generosity.

Five Minute Friday

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday linkup.

Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many.

16 thoughts on “Five Minute Friday: WHY

  1. Ugh, North Korea. Such a reminder of the freedoms we enjoy. You did well with this prompt, Paula. I wish you balance as you seek answers to your important why questions.

    • I read another book about North Korea (Nothing to Envy, I think) and it left me aghast that at such a time in our civilization, people’s liberties can be so restricted. I remember seeing pictures from space of North Korea — TOTALLY BLACK against a world alight. It is a stark reminder for sure. Thank you for your good thoughts.

  2. There are no two people who grieve that same way. I say do whatever works for you. You should check out Carol’s site at AHealingSpirit. She has some great products that help with grieving. The journal and affirmations are out of this world.

  3. Like many of your commenters, I believe grief comes in many forms and resolves in its own way and time. May I provide a virtual hug? I’m facing my own challenge right now.

  4. Grief is so hard. And we experience it in so many ways. Praying for you and your family as you navigate this new reality. I’m in the 50 spot this week.

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