“Don’t numb yourself any further with busyness or forced happiness. Feel what is bothering you so that you can learn to adjust to the change instead of pretending that it doesn’t exist.” – Carol C.M.
“The waves ebb and the waves flow, and yet I never tire of watching from the shore, the way the waves rhythms show their intensity, then inactivity; as if to remind me of what I already know in my heart and in my soul, which is that to life there must be balance, and happiness is empty if sadness we must forego.”
– Carol C.M.
“Kindness begins with the understanding that we all struggle.” – Charles Glassman.
Help is supposed to be a good thing…Right? Sometimes, though, it doesn’t feel so good. Sometimes we try to help others by trying to present a solution to their problem without knowing that we may be making their problem worse. Additionally, sometimes we unknowingly force our own personal beliefs and values onto others, or we might not notice that we are being passive-aggressive in the way that we are attempting to offer help.
When this happens after loss it can sometimes leave both sides wondering, “What just happened?” Sometimes it occurs right after a loved one has passed, and sometimes it happens long after the funeral has ended and the person grieving is still trying to adjust to the effects of their loss, but when it happens it is always something that the person grieving almost usually never forgets.
I understand. I understand completely. When someone dies it is hard to find the right words to say. We’re always concerned about whether we are saying the right thing to the person who had to say goodbye to someone that they knew. Someone that they cared for and in many cases loved.
We all know of some of the standard ways to address those who are grieving. Ways that we have become accustomed to. I know because I have used some of those words myself, but that was before I could even begin fathom what it was like to lose someone whose absence meant that my entire life would change and never be the same. It was long before I knew what it was like to lose a child. Long before I experienced losing someone who wasn’t supposed to leave this earth before me, (or anyone else in my immediate family for that matter.)
To anyone wanting to offer condolences to the grieved, please understand that person’s loss may not be the first loss that they have had to endure. They may have lost many people in their lifetime, and as a result, they may not feel that this particular loss was a part of God’s plan, or that “it was for the best.”
Maybe it was a part of God’s plan and maybe they are in a better place, but the chances that someone who just lost someone is going to agree that what happened was for the best is very slim. This is especially true for parents who have lost a child. Losing a child is considered to be one of the hardest forms of grief to overcome. It’s exhausting.
So, a little word of advice from a grieving mom. The next time that you a presented with the chance to extend your condolences to someone, remember that person has just gone through what might be the most horrible time in their life and your thoughtfulness and could make a world of difference.
One of the best condolences that I received was “I am sorry for your loss. Please let me know if there is anything that I can do to help.” This let me know that the person felt bad about what happened, but it also let me know that they understood that I was going through a tough time and that they would be there for me if I needed anything.
If you are unsure of what to way, simply say exactly that, say that you’re unsure of what to say. Say that you are sorry and that you don’t know what to say because that will be better than saying nothing at all; and if you want to be a bit more expressive just try not to say anything that may be offensive. Sometimes its best to keep it simple and straight to the point, but being considerate of someone’s loss and their needs usually never fails.
Until the next post,
Take care + be well,
It was a very long night. I didn’t sleep at all that night. It was 6:14 a.m. on that early August morning that I took this photo as I sat in this room staring at the white walls and these deep green seats, waiting for someone to come and tell me that I could smile again. I kept thinking about how just twelve hours beforehand, my youngest child and I were enjoying one of his favorite meals, while conversating as we got our “little nerd fix“ while watching the show Battle Bots. Ten hours beforehand we had, unbeknownst to us, said our last real goodbyes right before I reminded him to drive safely as he opened the front door to leave to meet up with friends out of town. The moment that I took this photo I had enough hope for the world. However, evidently, some plans are much greater than our own wishes, hopes, dreams, efforts and prayers.
It often begins with shock. That initial feeling that sends shock waves and copious amounts of cortisol throughout your body, filling every part with enough stress to make your hands shake and your entire body quiver. Then the numbness seeps in ever so slowly. So slow, in fact, that you’re barely able to recognize that your body is being possessed by some strange form of extreme sadness; and for a minute you begin to wonder if you’re losing your mind.
You’re in disbelief. Yet, you somehow know that this may not end well, so you reach deep down inside your heart and gut and pull out as much strength, courage and hope for a happy end result as you possibly can – and even so – you still don’t feel as though that effort will be enough.
Now all that you feel is fear. You are still numb and outside of yourself, but the hurt that you feel is now becoming so overwhelming and all that your heart and mind are telling you is that you absolutely cannot lose this person. Suddenly, you start doubting that this is actually happening and hope that you are just having a really terrible dream. You can’t believe that this is even possible. How can it be possible? Nothing feels real at the moment.
You can’t seem to stop the tears from falling from your eyes and down your cheeks. Nor can you stop the ache in your chest. You’re antsy and you want to do something to help, but you are told repeatedly that there is nothing else that you can do. That they can do. That anyone can do. That doesn’t stop you though. Each day that you return to this place you keep asking and trying to find solutions. All you know is… this hurt likes like hell.
This was my experience and I cannot speak for all parents who have lost a child, but there is not doubt that when someone you love loses their life, so many feelings and emotions rush through your mind and you have to mourn the loss in order to help you process it. Mourning is essential to the healing process and there is no time frame that one can be expected to “get over” their loss. That is always personal. It is as personal as the relationship that you had with the person that you lost. This is why bereavement healing times tend to vary from person to person. Bereavement should not be rushed. So, the next time that you encounter someone who is grieving, show a little patience, kindness and be genuinely supportive because that is what is going to help that person overcome their grief in the healthiest way possible.
Until the next post…
Take care + Be well,