This is as much for those who have friends and relatives who are grieving as for those who are grieving.
I have heard grief referred to as “the greatest pain and suffering of all.”
When someone you really love or care for dies, the hurt and emptiness can be so great that chances are, you may not have experienced this depth of hurt before.
I can remember Julia telling me that the pain after surgery was easy in comparison to the hurt she felt for a long time after her husband was killed suddenly in a construction accident.
“I have had surgery six times in my life and given birth to three children, but each time I knew that the hurt would pass in a few days. The agony of missing Kurt and knowing that there was no timeframe for this to pass was a pain I have never known.”
When you are struck with grief, those around you have a very difficult time understanding you.
They don’t understand unless they too have been touched by the death of someone very close to them. And they don’t understand because they don’t want to look at you knowing that one day they too will likely feel the sting of missing someone who has been taken from them.
Russell explained things clearly.
“The day that Emily died it all stopped. The joy and the perspective, the looking forward and the reason to be, all ended when she left. I couldn’t find a reason to look forward, to celebrate or even to dream. For a long time I couldn’t find a reason to get out of bed.”
It is very difficult to prepare for what grief brings with it. If death is sudden, you cannot possibly prepare for what you did not see coming.
Even when death announces itself and you see that the person is ill and not getting better, you will maintain hope and only gradually begin to face a possible bleak outcome.
Even when you anticipate death, when it finally arrives, it does so with such finality and force that you will still find yourself in a state of shock and feel will completely unprepared.
If you have recently had someone that you loved and depended on die, don’t be alarmed to find that your sadness is so strong that you have difficulty functioning.
The hurt that grief often carries with it can be so profound that it can often incapacitate you. Even the simple, straightforward things can and often do become difficult to manage.
Margo was a mess.
“Since Jerome died, I can’t even cook. I daydream and become distracted. I walk away from the stove when it’s on. I leave the fridge open and the water running. I can’t even do things that for years have been second nature to me.”
David remembers Sarah.
“I cry for what seems like no reason. I stand in line at the grocery store and I cry. I sit in the park on a sunny day and I cry. I brush my teeth and I cry”.
If you hurt and are sad to the point of pain know that the best way to manage your hurt is to express it. Find a way to begin to let it out. Don’t pretend to be ok. Don’t cover you hurt. You will have to express yourself sooner or later.
Find someone who understands, someone “who will be with you”. Find someone who will not talk you in or out of your feelings, someone who will not judge you.
If you are friends of someone who is in the throws of grief, be as patient and as gentle as you can be. Allow them to say what they feel and to express themselves honestly.
Whether you are the one who hurts or the one who is helping, try and remember that grief can be so difficult and so profound that nothing is as it was and nothing makes sense.
From there finding a place for healing will be possible.