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.
My friend Lois is mourning her brother and like everyone some days are harder than others. She sent me this link to a blog post that she likes. A friend sent it to her, Lois sent it to me, I’m sharing it here.
5 lies you were told about grief
I will tell you the one platitude I hated was “you wouldn’t have wanted Dave to still be suffering.” Well, maybe I did. Intellectually perhaps not but emotionally, I would have given anything to have had him still here in any state.
Anyway, I think she’s on to something though most of us do indeed have to go to work and buy groceries. I would add that it’s also ok to begin to live your life again.
By Mickaël Delcey (Silverkey) (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
I was talking with a friend recently about the death of his mother who died in her 60’s. He is grieving for her but said he realizes that other people have it worse. I said “well, pain is pain and grief is not a competition. You’re allowed to grieve without having to compare yourself to others.”
There is always that feeling of “wow, that’s worse than my loss.” I don’t often think “well, my grief is worse” but I do tend to marvel at losses that seem worse. I think the important thing to remember is that people mourn for family members, for their livelihoods, for the destruction of their homes.
I guess there are some degrees of things being worse. I met a widow who was told by her co-worker that she now understood the widow’s grief because her dog died the previous evening. The widow didn’t feel that they were quite the same thing. The man who treats my house for bugs has said more than once that having to put his dog down after 15 years was like losing a child. So, a 15 year old dog has led a long life. The bug guy obviously has no idea what losing a child would be like. It would be better to say, “boy I miss my dog.”
If we go down the path of ranking losses, we’d have to assign points. So many for a parent, maybe more for a spouse, and double that for a child. Oh, and don’t forget our siblings and in-laws, and friends.
I think it’s better just to say, “grief is not a competition.”
I did it!! I managed to run my 5K. I ran the whole way despite the hills (oh, they were killers). I also was not last. Those were my two goals. Perhaps not the weightiest goals but I met them. It was more difficult than I expected. I’ll need to practice more outdoors.
This is one of those things that I probably would never have done if my husband was still alive. I’ll never know, obviously, but it just seems like I started this as something to accomplish. I never thought of myself as a runner so I’m proud that I managed to run a race.
I would pro
I’m all over the place lately, I know. Now I have decided to take up running. I’ve been using the Couch to 5K app to learn how to do it. (Here’s the link to what I’ve been using: http://splendid-things.co.uk/getrunning/) It’s great. I love this British woman and her kindly ways.
So I’ve been doing this and then telling Steve, the trainer at the gym about how I’ve been running using this app. He kept telling me that I need to sign up for a 5K race and that if I can do what I’ve been doing, no reason I can’t run a 5K. He convinced me and I’m running a race this coming Saturday. It’s the Hop for Hope at Hale Farm. http://www.hopforhope.org/
I’ve never been an athlete of any kind; I’m not sure why I decided to do this. We’ll see how it goes. Wish me luck on Saturday. I hope to finish and run the whole race.
Week 9 Get Running