In recent months grief has been a challenge I have been facing both personally and professionally. It has seemed like so many people I have known have experienced a recent loss. A few things I have learned from this experience
- People want to do the right thing and help but many will not be able to. I have watched many people struggle with how to help someone grieving and want to reach out and somehow not be able to. I think fear of doing the wrong thing paralyzes many people from doing anything at all.
- Everything you do matters. Every card or text or ride or hug or shared memory makes a difference to the person grieving. They may not be able to articulate it when they receive it but it does matter.
- When you extend a sympathy sharing a memory is a wonderful gift. Happy memories are always welcome.
- People want to make it better for you-what is more appreciated is if people just acknowledge how bad it is. Grief is hard. There is no getting around it. Yes most people will move on with their lives and may even be happy again but in the beginning it is hard and it hurts. Just acknowledging that is very validating to people.
- Some people will surprise you. There are those you will expect to step up that won’t but there will also be unexpected people that come to help you.
- Grief is unpredictable. You may be going along okay and then be brought to your knees in sadness. The best you can do is to be aware when it hits you.
- There is no way around it. You can only go through it. Our tendency is to want to avoid pain but with grief the only way to move on is to go through the pain. It is hard and often horrible but it does get easier. Grief is always with us it just may become less prominent in our thoughts and actions.