What I Have Learned About Grief
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.
Thank you for sharing your insights about grief Cathy. You have provided some useful reminders. Hopefully your readers will find comfort in your words. Blessings.
Thank you Tish.
Thank you for sharing some of the lessons you have learned about grief as you had to face your personal painful losses.
I agree that in order to “move on,” we have no choice but to acknowledge and truly feel the sadness and pain of our losses. Wishing you much strength – it is not easy, especially when you have had to experience a number of losses one after the other.
However, based upon the lovely memories/stories of resilience you shared, I believe that you too have the resilient strand in your system (not sure if that’s the right term for it but hopefully you understand what I mean) and you will get through this. Hold onto the lovely memories you have (perhaps even consider making a journal with pictures and descriptions of your favorite memories to be able to always share them with your loved ones).
I don’t know if this will help or not but there are 5 Remembrances according to the Buddhist tradition:
I am of the nature to grow old.
I am of the nature to have ill health.
I am of the nature to die.
I am of the nature to lose everything I ever cared about.
I am the sum total of my actions and my future actions.
As per Dr David Treadway (I share some of his key take-aways in the Secrets of Aging post), it helps if we remember that all of life is uncertain > this helps us appreciate more what we have when we have it… and be more accepting of the inevitable losses that we will experience because they are an inevitable part of life.
Appreciating you and your kindness and sending you <>,
Thank you Dorlee for your very thoughtful words. I appreciate your support. I think the putting together of memories is a wonderful suggestion. It is hard that such pain is indeed an inevitable part of life, but it does make you really value when there is happiness.
Thank you, Cathy, for such touching–and important–reminders.
Thank you for taking the time to read it and comment. Renee