Sunday, January 6, 2013

To Be Proud? That Is The Question


For some reason, this memory was lost in the chaos of my mind.

And for some reason I remembered it this week and have been thinking a lot about it.

When I went to Camp Widow West in August, I went to host the suicide round table and to spread word about my FMLA petition.

I’ve written about both before, so I will skip forward to my forgotten memory.

As I was flying home from Camp Widow, Ironically sitting a crossed the isle from me was Supa Freshwidow,

“Your name is Melinda right? You are here for your petition, right?”

Taken a little a back, I say “Yes”.

She introduces herself. Even though I have followed her facebook and blog for a couple years now, I didn't recognize her. I somehow missed her through the weekend at Camp Widow.

And here we were, flying from CA to UT, sitting a crossed from each other.

She asked me how the suicide round table went, and I explained that it went really well, and I was proud of myself. That hosting the round table helped me more than I expected it would.

She asked me about my petition, and if I was proud of myself.

I had to actually think about that one. “Am I proud of myself?”

After some thought, my response was “no”.

She looked at me like I was kinda crazy. And said something along the lines of “How can you not be proud of your petition? You can potentially help a lot of people!”

I again had to think about it. “I guess I’m not proud, because it’s something that just has to be done. The laws have to be changed.  It’s hard to be proud of myself when it’s just something that has to be done. It’s not like I came up with the cure for cancer. I’m just doing what needs to be done.”

She again looks at me like I’m crazy, and then says “You know it’s OK to be proud of yourself, right? You know it’s OK to toot your own horn, right?”

Me “I guess I don’t realize it’s OK to be proud of myself.”

This memory was locked away in my brain. I don’t know why.

I have thought a lot about this memory this week, and found myself asking “Are you proud now?”

The answer is no. (Yep, I said it).

I still feel like I’m just doing what needs to be done. I don’t feel like I have made some major change or discovery that will help all mankind.

Sometimes things just need to be done.

Like if I saw someone in distress, I would help them, just because it needs to be done. It’s something I wouldn't put much thought into; I would just reach out and help the person in distress.

I guess I’m not proud, because my job isn't done.

The petition is exhausting.

When I started it, I never thought it would be as hard as it is. I never thought I would be so emotionally involved with it that I would lose mass amounts of sleep over it.

It is mentally and physically exhausting.

Especially when I see someone who is newly widowed, having to go back to work immediately.

The laws haven’t been changed. I still have a long road ahead of me. And as long as I am on this road, I have to watch newly widowed people struggle with the exact laws I am trying to change.

It’s like a kick in the teeth. Knowing that the laws are flat out wrong and I can’t get the laws changed fast enough to protect newly widowed people.

I realized that not feeling proud of my petition is kind of like grief.

I don’t see the progress I have made. I just see that I haven’t reached the finish line.

Same goes for grief. I sometimes see small glimpses of my grief progress, but often times feel stuck and ashamed that I’m not “further along” in my grief. I haven’t reached the finish line in my grief.

I’m starting to realize with grief, there is no finish line. It will never end and my grieving will never suddenly reach the finish line.

Even if you can only see small glimpses of your progress, it’s OK to be proud of yourself.

It’s OK to toot your own horn. And to shout from the roof tops “Look, it’s been 29 months, and the monthly anniversary almost slipped by without me noticing!”

Be proud of where you are. Because if you are reading this blog, you have made progress.

You have stepped out, and looked for support.

That is a huge step.

Be proud of that.

Be proud of yourself!

(You can read my petition here and you can follow the faceboook petition page here - I post where the petition is heading and what support I need.)


  1. I signed your petition. And I thank you for being so brave and to do this for those who will have to face this in the future.

    I was home for 3 weeks after my fiance died. I was only supposed to get one week as per our company's bereavement policy, but my boss was nice enough to sneak in an extra week, but then deducted the 3rd week from my vacation time. That's not fair. My vacation time? Really? I should be using that time to relax, take a trip, take it easy, not worry about work...not sob my eyes out while trying to pick up the pieces of my broken life and wonder how I'm going to get through this loss.

    It was impossible to go back to work in the right frame of mind. Only a couple of weeks back to work, I suffered another death in my family. I was given 2 days bereavement and the rest (I was so traumatized from suffering two big losses in a month that I just couldn't come back so soon) if the week was deducted from my vacation time again. For months I just could not focus. Work slipped. And you know, as much as you hurt and grieve, life goes on around you and this place just does not care how much you hurt inside. They want you to get your work done. It's not THEIR husbands/wives who died. Suck it up and do it. And it's just horrible. You are so busy trying to keep your mind focused on work that it just builds up inside. Once you're home the breakdown is horrible. I'm so lucky my boss has been there for me since the day my fiance was diagnosed with cancer, and he understands how hard it was for me for those 3 years, and no matter how hard it was, I still tried my best. He could have fired me for some big mistakes I made after his death, but he didn't.

    There really should be more acceptable laws for those of us who lost a spouse/significant other. It's terrible that one cannot grieve such a huge loss in their right time...

  2. Thank you for all you are doing and I will sign and follow your petition. I myself had to go back to work only after taking two weeks of my own time since my husbands death occurred over the holiday break (new years eve). It was a horrible time and focus was out of the question! One year later and I'm still foggy at times. It is important to have time.... Coming home after work to two small children is no down time!
    I am proud that I've reached out and found this blog... Thanks again!