Wednesday, August 5, 2015

... grief is not one size fits all ...

i stopped to see a friend on the way home from work today.  actually, i had to turn around and make a right turn for it to be on the way, but i felt that she needed a hug ... or maybe it was just me that needed one ...
 she lost her husband very unexpectedly a few weeks ago and has been walking through that nightmare ever since.  we talked about life and death, grief, and the whole "why him?" "what next?" kind of questions that just don't have any answers.  i don't have any experiences that would even come close to comparison.  i've lost people ... my father, aunts, uncles, grandparents ... i've lost pets.  but those aren't really the same.  grief is not a "one size fits all" kind of thing.  everyone experiences it in different ways, everyone heals at different times.  i wish i could have the power to wrinkle my nose and make all her hurt go away, but that isn't the answer either.  those events that shake us to the core are often the things that make us stronger so that the next time we experience a life-altering change, we are a little more prepared because we know that this too shall pass.  we talked about things she could do to help with her healing process ... journaling; taking time for herself; not rushing into any big decisions; but mostly just realizing that there is no schedule that says she has to be better by this date or that.  she doesn't have to rush to sort his clothes or sell the house.  choosing not to act is a choice in itself, and sometimes is the best choice for that moment in time.  i told her how i recently found a letter i wrote several years ago to my future self, during a time when i was lost in a deep depression.  i had written of hope, and told myself that the choices i was making at that time were good ones, no matter what anyone else said, and that when i found that letter i would be able to look back at that time and realize how much stronger i was because of it.  i suggested that when she wrote herself a letter, she could put it somewhere that it would not be found right away ... perhaps in her Christmas decorations, knowing that she may not decorate this year, but that one day she would and perhaps finding a letter that she wrote in her pain of the "now" she would be able to see how far she has come from this day.  we talked about our loved ones always being with us and how sometimes even the smallest of things would remind us not only of how much they were loved, but how much we were.  because really, that is all we ever get to keep of the ones who have passed away.  
the love we will always have for them in our hearts.


  1. Yes.
    And grief isn't something we 'get over' either. It is something we learn to live with. And in my experience sometimes it bites us hard - years after the event.
    I hope your friend is ok, and I am sure that it helped talking to someone who didn't offer platitiudes.

  2. Elephant's Child is right on. God puts us in the paths of certain people in our lives. I felt you were one for me. I see most certainly you were one for your friend. May God ease her pain so that one day she can remember and smile.


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