You are on your own unique grief journey, not someone else’s preconceived notion of what your grief journey should look like. You are the bus driver on your journey. You get to decide where the bus goes, where it stops and who gets to get on your bus. You have permission to ask insensitive riders to get off your bus. You can shut the bus door to protect yourself from friends and family members who push you to do things that you are not ready to do. (The advice offered by friends and family is usually well intended but it is often insensitive and thoughtless.)
As the driver of your own bus, you can decide whether your bus will stop at your brother’s for Christmas this year. You as the driver of your own bus can ask your sister offering the unsolicited advice to get off your bus. You are not being unkind; you are practicing self-care. Simply explain you need time and space to grieve and you hope they can respect this. At some point you might be ready to make stops and invite some of those family and friends back on your bus. However, for right now, during the grieving process you must permit yourself to say no and not feel bad about it. You live with the daily pain and suffering of grief, accordingly, you get to be in the driver’s seat.
I cannot emphasize how this image of driving your own bus has been extremely helpful and healing to bereaved men and women. Please consider using it on your grief journey. Start today…who do you need to ask to get off your bus?