Meghan McCain is celebrating her 35th birthday today!! Y’all know I’m a fan girl, right? Or maybe you didn’t if you’re a new blog reader? In that case, you should know that one of the highlights of the summer was going to a taping of The View!!
But it’s Meghan’s willingness to talk about the taboo subject of grief that has truly meant the most to me recently. Following the death of her father, the late Senator John McCain, she’s started a much-needed conversation by talking openly about her grief. It’s something our society doesn’t do. In fact, it’s something we actively discourage, but she gives a voice to it — to the darkness, to the pain, to the emptiness that loss leaves.
We’re told to “work through our grief” and while the intensity may change over the years, grief never fully goes away. It lingers — through holidays, anniversaries, birthdays. It’s that hole in your heart that can never be filled. And. That’s. OK.
Not a day goes by that I don’t think of my father and I think it’ll always be this way. One of the WORST things we can do is tell someone how to grieve. Don’t do this. You’re not being helpful and you’re just further stigmatizing grief. We need to talk more, not less.
I recently wrote about the horrible trend of ‘grief-shaming’ and it sickens me that we even have a word for this because it shouldn’t be a thing in 2019. But I’ve experienced it — people telling me to move on & get over it. People telling me to stop writing about my dad — I mean, obviously, I’m not going to stop writing about him. Ever. But, ugh ugh. We shouldn’t be getting grief from other people as we continue to do the very hard, life-changing work of processing our own grief, you know?
Anyway, here’s the piece I wrote in the hopes that people start looking at grief as a journey and not a destination…
“Grief is as individual as the person going through it. There is no right way, no one size fits all. Grief is an individual journey and no one can tell us how to do it. We must find the way that works for us and not judge others because they may grieve differently.
I’m always going to talk about my father, my grief and my journey. It’s all part of my life and my story. We each have to move through grief at our own pace and in a way that is comfortable for us.”
As Meghan herself wrote in an Instagram post shortly before the one-year anniversary of her father’s death: “Last year tomorrow, August 25th was the worst day of my life. I lost my hero. I miss my father every single day, I will for the rest of my life. Grief is omnipresent and relentless. The memory of my father’s life continues to guide me today, as it always will.”
Happy birthday, Meghan McCain!! Thank you for talking about grief and being so open and honest about your journey. You’ve been a voice for so many of us who have also lost a parent. I know your dad is with you today!! Sending lots of love… xoxo
P.S. Plus, can I just say how incredibly badass Meghan McCain is? She can hold her own and I love that she’s a strong woman who doesn’t back down!!