There are some things about grief that I think most of us experience. I’m working with someone who is going through a sudden, very tragic death in his family and it’s made me realize that there are some things that are true for most of us.
First of all, people don’t know what to say so they often avoid you when you’re newly bereaved. So, if they’re not saying silly things, they try not to see you at all.
Secondly, your sleep becomes all messed up. It’s hard to sleep at night and it’s hard to stay alert during the day. It’s been over three years since Dave died and I’ve never managed to go back to the routine I had before he died.
Third, time stands still when you’re newly bereaved. I remember hoping that a lot of time would go by so that the pain would become less but also not wanting time to pass at all because I didn’t want to be living my life without my husband. Now, when I look back at that time, my memory is pretty blurred.
Fourth, absolutely everything reminds you of your loved one. This gets better as time goes on but I remember being devastated while standing in the grocery store looking at mustard and feeling waves of grief because Dave wasn’t telling me why we should buy a particular brand. I now manage to make it through most grocery stores without falling to pieces.
Fifth, everyone says to let them know what they can do to help but when you’re the person grieving, it’s almost impossible to ask for help. My co-worker said his neighbor just mowed his lawn for him without asking. That’s how you help. I remember some of my friends just doing things for me and I may never have thanked them properly but I remember it with great gratitude.
I know there are lots more basics but these are big ones. I’m sure some of you can think of others–feel free to share.