Wendy Boggs, MS/G
Full Circle Intern
This Fall, I had the honor of facilitating a book-based support group using Megan Devine’s book, “It’s OK that You’re Not Ok,” as our proverbial north star. Each week, the group of women who participated in our discussions astounded me with their insightful and vulnerable discussions, with topics and quotes from the book as jumping off points.
One conversation in particular centered around Devine’s introduction of the “vomit metric.” Now, as a child of the 80s and 90s, I prefer the term “hurl metric,” and you may prefer something else altogether, but you get the idea. The conversation goes like this: some well-meaning (we hope) friend or family member asks, “When are you going to stop wearing your wedding ring,” “When are you going to donate their clothes,” or “When are you going to change your child’s room around?” As a result, the person who is bereaved is left wondering, “Am I doing something wrong? When IS the right time to do this?”
Well, as Devine writes, “The answer is simple: there is no right time. You can’t wait for the time to feel right, because it likely never will. None of this is something you would ever choose. When you’re trying to make a decision, you can’t wait until it feels good” (p. 75).
Hence, the hurl metric. If removing your wedding ring, donating your loved one’s clothing, or changing your child’s room around makes you want to hurl, maybe it’s not the right time to do it. Sure, family and friends may have their opinions and try to encourage you to move in one direction, but whether or not you take that path is up to you. If someone is pushing you in a direction that makes you want to hurl, or if YOU are trying to “should” yourself into something (“It’s been a year, I should take my wedding ring off) that makes you want to hurl, maybe now isn’t the right time.
Maybe one day the thought of doing whatever it is folks (or you) think you should be doing won’t make you want to hurl. Maybe then will be the time to take whatever action it is. However, that day may not come and that’s fine, too. As Devine writes, “You will do what you need to do when you need to do it. Not a moment before. It will never feel good. But if it makes you feel sick, now is not the time” (p. 76).
Have grace with yourself, and trust that when the time is right, you’ll take the action you need and/or want to take. And, if that time never comes? That’s okay too. It really is OK that you’re not OK.