This phrase—”Just Get Over It,” and similar variations—is something I’ve heard so often in my life that I’ve internalized it.
If you’ve read my posts before, you may recall that I’ve talked about my mother. She passed away when I was eleven years-old. I’ve never really grieved for her. In times where I have tried, my father would shut me down (“She’s dead. Get over it.” “It’s been a year. Stop.”). Nobody at my schools knew about her, or knew what to do for me. So I took all of this and internalized it as “Why can’t you just get over it already?”
Well… what part should I get over? I was eleven when she died, and I witnessed her die. I watched her leave this world, and me, behind.
And now I’m still here.
I can’t get over her death because it’s tied into my life in intricate, tiny little ways that come at me in my blind spots.
- she wasn’t there for my wedding, which she would’ve loved. And I would’ve loved to have her advice.
- she wasn’t there when either of my daughters were born. I would’ve loved her support, advice, even just a hug, then, and now, as the kids grow up. And she would’ve loved having two grand-daughters to dote on.
- she’s there in every sunny day when I look at the flowers, or watch the birds dancing in the wind, or the warm sunbeam I curl up in to read.
- she’s definitively NOT there to answer the phone and laugh at me when I tell her the next crazy thing the kids have done to irritate me. Or to have happy tears in her eyes when I tell her about some great new thing the kids have done.
And those are just the things on the surface. There is SO MUCH MORE beneath the surface. Things that remind me of her. Times I’m just flat-out sad and want to hear her voice or embrace.
Even if I fully grieve for her, these things will still exist. I’ll never “get over it.” Her death at such an early age for me has marked me permanently, and I don’t know how to, or if I want to, get over it.
So let’s please stop using that phrase entirely. Nobody who has experienced a loss, a trauma, anything so deeply scarring should have to hear, “Get over it already.”