Guest Blogger Bio: My name is Malinda but I usually go by Lindee instead. I am a 23-year-old woman that lives in Iowa. If I am not running the sidewalks or attending graduate school, then you’ll find me boutique shopping in the eclectic East Village of Des Moines. Having lost my own daughter, I know firsthand how difficult it is to navigate through grief but to also be a young woman in a society that frowns upon showing emotions. So with mounting frustration, I felt inspired to devote my life to writing about child loss and just how misunderstood us young parents can be.
It wasn’t long into my adult life when I lost my daughter to Spina Bifida, very unexpectedly. Not only was the pregnancy unexpected, but so was her death. And I found myself thrust into a completely different part of life, in uncharted waters. At 20-years-old I had an immense amount of grief to learn to cope with; but at the same time I needed to find my way back to “normal” life, whatever that may be.
So with several months of being on an emotional rollercoaster and learning how to reintegrate into my new life, I came to a realization. It suddenly hit me how alone in all of this I had been. Yes my family and friends had been there along the way but as a whole, the general public was very uncomfortable with my loss. Out in public I would come across many people who were passive, partial and very uncompassionate towards my daughter’s death. Never once did I need any sort of sympathy but it was apparent that society was unable to communicate with me about my loss.
One day I got to thinking, how many people does this happen to? How many young women struggle in silence like I did because society has made it socially unacceptable to be publically sad? Surely, I couldn’t be the only one going through this. With these questions in the back of my mind I started to watch how people treated me differently. Even out for a night on the town, I noticed how people that I had known for years seemed to avoid me. With all of my mental notes, I came to a quick conclusion; most people treated me as if nothing had happened. Whether they wanted to skip the awkward questions or just didn’t care because it hadn’t happened in their life, I am unsure. But neither of those options were enough of an excuse.
Society wants us to be strong, independent, vibrant people that hide our emotions. We are supposed to go to work, make money, have fabulous things and act as if life isn’t different after our loss. It almost feels like a punishment. Most people put on a façade as if they are fine even if under the surface the grief torments them. The force that society puts on people to return to normal life after a loss is a travesty.
With all of that being said, I choose to start writing about how misunderstood us young, grieving people are. What the world needs to realize is that most grieving people do not want your sympathy; all they yearn for is a little understanding. A simple acknowledgement of the loss would suffice. But society still stands in the way of allowing this to happen. Both the griever and the rest of world have a disconnect with each other about death because society has made it unacceptable to have sadness as a part of normal life. What the most discerning part is is that death isn’t a weakness. It is something that is a normal, healthy part of life that so many people hide from.
After having lived the nightmare myself, I know how insanely hard it is to open up to other people. But with how prevalent social media is and how advanced our society is, it is imperative to find the time to reach out to other grieving people. In time, if each of us grieving people found it within us to take the plunge and speak about our experiences, then it is we who are making the difference and changing societies views on grief. Rather than waiting on society to change, why don’t we put the change into motion ourselves? The world is waiting for us to do something about this, and tomorrow is the perfect time to start