” We come to know each other for reasons we are not yet aware, and we eventually lose each other; but gain compelling stories to share.”
“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,
September was National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. I know… my post is a little late considering that we are now a few days into October, but the truth is, I wanted to wait to post this because oftentimes we tend to forget about the causes that we support the moment that the cause’s awareness month has ceased. So, in a way, this is my way of reminding myself and others to remember that suicide is something that we should not just think about every September. Suicide is something that we should be aware of year round. This is by no means because I think that it is more important than any other cause; but because I think that it isn’t thought of as often as it should be considering that it appears to be a considerable, perplexing and somewhat mysterious problem affecting many individuals, their families and friends.
The topic of suicide is often something that people find uncomfortable discussing despite the fact that is such an important issue. People, who for whatever reason, ultimately reach a point in their lives where they feel so despondent that they eventually feel that continuing their lives is no longer an option must be hurting, immensely, and beyond anything that anyone else could ever imagine…(I, of course am postulating here.)
We have witnessed celebrities and people who seem to have it all chose to end their lives and we are left to wonder why? Many of us have also witnessed people who lived less extravagant lives make the same decision again leaving us to contemplate what happened. It is evident that there are many people hurting and suffering in silence – all while leaving their families, friends and others with the impression that everything is fine and normal as usual. Yet, those are only appearances. Appearances that we tend to inaccurately assess; or perhaps maybe it is that they are just more adept at ensuring that no one ever gets a glimpse into that nebulous side of them – again for whatever reason. Let’s think about that for a second. Really let it soak in. You can’t help consider that something is terribly amiss here; but what is it?
From what I remember from my psychology courses when I was working on completing my degree a few years ago and through my own research, there aren’t any known actual causes of suicide. However there are a few risk factors which include the following:
Mental illness such as depression or bi-polar disorder
Grief and loss
Extensive emotional and/or physical pain, and
Having had attempted suicide previously
Moreover, individuals considered at risk may
Seem extremely sad, withdrawn and hopeless
Lose or gain weight
Appear to be tired all of the time
Behave in an unusual manner
Seem to avoid their usual activities or lose interest in them.
Talk often about life insurance and wills, suicide, or other things related to death and dying
One important thing to remember is that it can be difficult to detect the symptoms associated with suicide, namely because they tend to hide their true feelings of sadness, by trying to appear “normal” by preoccupying themselves with work or other busy tasks. They may also exhibit an abundance of energy or excitability and any of these can lead someone to miss the hidden signs of despair.
If you know someone who might appear to be exhibiting any of these signs. Consider reaching out to them because they need to know that someone is by their side. They need to know that someone cares. Sometimes the reason that they don’t reach out to anyone themselves is because they were once taught to believe that feeling sad, depressed and hopeless is just weakness. Some were also brought up to believe that seeking mental help is also a sign of weakness or unnecessary when there are other sources of help such as through attending church for example. Yet, being that the cause could be medically related that belief is not very helpful. What is more helpful is listening to the person and trying to help them find the good in life again. What is more helpful than that is assisting them with finding a medical professional to help them in ways that no one else probably can. Lastly, I’ll end by writing (typing) the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Number one more time, you know, just in case you forgot it. 1(800) 273-Talk (8255) Pass it on.
Until the next post,
Take care + Be well,