Grief affects everyone differently. Some seems to power through with what seems like minimal impact on their lives. Others struggle daily for , what seems like, eternity. And yet others might be a combination of both. Regardless of how they are coping with all the changes that come with loss, those friends, family, and many other players are feeling the affects as well. Since, this is such a finicky emotion, being “ outsider” can be uncomfortable and frustrating. Before I continue, let me explain why I used the term “ outsider”… since grief affect everyone is a different it is very difficult to related and understand emotions that are raging while attempting to cope. Those who either haven’t experienced loss or maybe, perhaps, a different type of loss can struggle with supporting others. This is mostly due to the lack of no how rather than want. Their lives haven’t come to a sudden halt, even though they may be feeling some of the aftershocks. Let me also say, sometimes outsiders can be two people experiencing the grief differently which make support difficult to provide.
Let me use an example that happened to me recently. Of course many of you know that I lost my husband in July 2020. My son had just turned two at the time and didn’t understand what had happened. On the way home from school, which we have a decent commute and lots of time to chat… the following conversation transpired.
H: when is daddy coming home from work.
M: sweetie daddy isn’t at work. He is in heaven with Jesus.
H: why can’t he come to my house?
M: sugar, he can’t come to
Your house. He is in heaven and that is not on the earth.
H: but I want him to come to my house because I love him.
M: I know baby. Mommy loves daddy too but he can’t come because he isn’t on this earth.
H: but mom he has too because I love him.
I have never felt so helpless to help my son understand his feeling and frustrations. Here I felt like an “outsider”, not knowing what to say or when to say it. Of course we just drove in silence the last twenty minutes. I guess the point I am trying to make with this short story is this…sometimes the only thing needed is your presence. There isn’t always words to be said, rather just physical presence that can provide the best support and comfort. Friends, family and others who are dealing with this kind of situation, you’re presence is enough. Your thoughts are enough. If you are religious, your prayers are enough. When we see situations of loss, we forget that is not just the ones who have experienced the loss that need support. Those trying to provide support need recognition for all their hard work. It is the support system that help make rising above the struggle possible. So thank you to all who stuck it out til the end, or those who are still providing that support!
Here is something else to consider. I never truly understand the debilitation that comes with losing someone until I lost Adam. There is something so different with sudden loss. I never expected to be working on two years and still feeling overwhelming emotions frequently… sometimes multiple times a day. To those who don’t understand what that feels like, watching friends, family, coworkers, or any others in your lives, it seems as though that person is stuck in the past or just refusing to accept their current situation, and you might be right. Please know that in order for someone to move forward they must be be mentally, emotionally, and psychologically prepared for the work that is required. Please be patient, kind, loving, and most of understanding to be best of your ability. Although it might seem that your love and support goes unnoticed or unappreciated, let me assure you that is completely untrue! You are our heroes! Just understand we may not always have the words to verbalize it! So THANK YOU!