When you think of the word grief, I think it’s safe to say that you automatically think of the death of a loved one. The process one goes through as they deal with that loss. Although that is accurate, I truly believe that grief is so much more than that.
In a divorce situation, you grieve the loss of a marriage. Losing your partner. Losing what you had planned for you future. Those involved, including the children, grieve the loss of their family as they knew it.
I’ve heard it said before, when someone is terminally ill, you often grieve that person while they are still living. Watching someone suffer in sickness, often times, watching the person you knew before the illness disappear. Knowing that their time is limited, you start to grieve much sooner.
Someone that battles a disease or illness that alters their lives, they grieve for themselves. They grieve the life that they had before, the things they used to be able to do, a life without pain and suffering.
Someone that loses a job that they’ve had for many years, they grieve the loss of what had become so much a part of them, their identity and self worth.
You get the point.
I guess what I’m getting at is that the word really means many things but the constant is that the person is experiencing or has experienced a loss.
Just as we all grieve different things, we all handle that grief differently. Truly, no grief is the same.
You really don’t know what someone is going through unless you have been through it yourself. You can have empathy, you can have compassion, etc. But, not until you have experienced first hand that particular loss, you really just won’t “get it.”
Thinking on this subject has really forced me to reason in my mind, why people act the way they do when dealing with someone hurting or struggling. And it is making some sense to me.
For example, our grief counselor, very early on said to me that I should be prepared for people to not be around. I didn’t get that. With the accident being so recent and the outpouring of care and concern we were shown, that didn’t seem possible. And me, being someone who considers and “prides” herself on being independent, I thought that if that were to happen I could handle it. I was wrong. Much quicker than I could have imagined, I felt alone. Little by little, after the flowers had withered and gone away, the phone calls and visits, etc started to do the same. I can’t completely describe the feeling but it was as if loss was being piled on top of loss, over and over again. I was so lost. I was devastated. I felt those things for myself and also for my kids. I was hurt. I didn’t understand. Hurt turned to anger which turned into bitterness and resentment. None of which I wanted to feel.
As I started the long process of trying to deal with all of those feelings, I realized some things that helped me. That helped me help my children. That hopefully, will help someone else.
What if “they” ___________________??
* are uncomfortable with your pain
* have their own pain and struggles and can’t take on any more
* don’t know what to say, don’t know what to do
* fear that they will say or do the wrong thing
* think you want to be left alone
* assume you already have so much support or people around you
* think that if you need something, you will ask
* are grieving themselves and actually feel the same way you do
* feel it’s too painful for them to talk about or being around you makes it more difficult for them
The list could be endless.
I came to the point of just accepting things as they were. Accepting people as they were. Bottom line, we are all human. We are not perfect. We won’t always say or do the right things. Acceptance doesn’t erase the hurt or invalidate your feelings but unforgiveness will eat you alive. I have enough to work through so I have to choose to simply let some things go and move along.
We can’t make people be who we want or need them to be for us anymore than they can make us be who they want or need us to be for them.
Honestly, we aren’t supposed to fill the voids. We can’t.
But, consider this… If you know someone who is going through hard times or any of the situations that I mentioned above, maybe just try being there. Just send a text, make a phone call, show up. You don’t have all of the answers and I can assure you that most likely they won’t expect you to. But any one of those things, are simple and can go such a long way.