I haven’t blogged in awhile. Tried some poetry and really enjoyed it. Although no Dr. Seuss, I wasn’t embarrassed by it and I got good feedback. It’s time now to return to the subject of grief and how it not only changes your life, but changes that of those around you.
Have you ever looked at someone, knowing they’ve had something catastrophic happen to them and choose to avoid them? Honestly I think everyone has at some point. Is it helping you or is it helping them? I think the answer is twofold. If you avoid the subject because let’s say “they look like they are having a good day” or if you “might make them cry”, trust me, their day is never that good and you don’t have the power to make them cry. Those newly bereaved would probably agree, there are no good days, just some days are harder than others. It may be that aroma of their favorite food or the smell of their cologne. It might be riding by somewhere you used to frequent or passing the place where you got the news. Or…it could be that the sun is out or the ping of the rain on the windows brings back a gentle memory of times gone by.
Those bereaved for a longer time have these days too when just the slightest thing can conjure up a big ugly cry. You see there are days that you just don’t know how to feel. Do I look back at what was? Do I try to freeze time so I don’t have to face the future? Do I try to find a silver lining in my sorrow? We are individuals and what you choose will greatly depend on how you see your future.
Many don’t see a future after loss because the lesson to be learned is how to live without the person you love. The relationship may have been great or it may have been strained in some way. This opens a Pandora’s Box of complicated emotions creating even more of a challenge. You can even grieve for a person still living, but the relationship is not what you envisioned. Imagine building a campfire and each stick you add creates a larger and larger blaze and in the long run makes it more difficult to extinguish. As the flames burn out of control, you step back and make a decision, stay and fight or run from it. You know it won’t be easy, but can you give up everything else and watch your life burn to the ground?
As far as making someone cry, I guarantee you they cry often, but many times in secret, because truth is, they don’t want to upset you. The car and the shower are standouts as far as this game of Hide and Seek. A nice pillow works great too especially because you can muffle the sobs. As far as everyone thinks, you are fine. For some, they want you to think this and for others they feel even more alone.
How do you help someone who is hurting, especially in the current environment? It is a tall order and one that challenges us to our very core. The answer is actually simple, meet them where they are, sit beside them, don’t look for the right thing to say. There is no right thing. When you occupy this space the world is full of shadows. Everything is in slow motion and it is hard to discern what the shadows are and what they mean. Your brain is foggy and your body is tired. You don’t have the energy to do anything so you allow the images to surround you. You feel helpless and alone. The fire is raging and you sit right there in the middle watching it burn.
Then you feel a hand, a pat, a gentle hug, a whisper in your ear. “I am here for whatever you need.” In that moment, you feel peace knowing you will be ok, but not today. The fire will get under control and although the ash is everywhere, the ones beside you will be there to help clean up and rebuild a new a different tomorrow. It is the person walking beside you in the maze, stepping aside at times for you to test it on your own. They will eventually fade to the shadows and you will walk bravely, bucket in hand to fight the fire.