I’m being reminded how personal grief is lately. My father has removed things that reminded him about my mum. Someone’s blog I follow is reliving a miscarriage from a year ago. Yet another person apparently went back to work a week after a stillbirth and does not want to think or talk about it.
Some talk, some don’t. Some cry every day, some don’t. Some pray to God, some have lost faith. Some ‘spiritualize’ their experience and some don’t. Where I think we go wrong is when we tell someone else how to live with grief.
Grief is ever changing. Since I’ve held my daughter in my arms while she left her body and subsequently buried my mom less than 4 months later my grief has changed and is still changing constantly. Monthly anniversaries are changing. Everything has to do with the meanings I’ve changed (or they changed themselves) around those things.
I’ve heard so many people’s version of THEIR meaning about MY grief. I guess it’s natural. Everyone has their ideas and opinions, whether asked or not. Some have less ground than others and are completely impossible to understand… I’m sure you have heard your share of those ‘well intended’ but totally unnecessary statements.
Grief is so very personal. In one of the ‘baby loss blogs’ I read a post where a blogger was making a statement relating to comparing loosing a child to ‘loosing a puppy’. ‘One reader commented that she lost her dog and was sad to read her blog as she felt her dog was like her child. Again, it comes to show that grief and loss is SO PERSONAL, equally personal as the meanings you give to people, animals, plants, things etc.
As a child I one lost a valet with $20 in a bathroom. I just received it as a present and I immediately went back only to find it was gone. I was devastated, utterly devastated. Now I look back and remember my reaction but as I now have different meanings attached to those things, it probably wouldn’t bother me that much. Again, personal meaning is… personal and temporal (=it changes over time) and so is the perceived loss.
You are allowed to wonder about someone else’s grief process, but refrain from telling them how to ‘go on’, ‘get over it’, ‘look at it from a positive side’…
Simply state the obvious: I’m sorry for your loss. I don’t know what to say. I’m here for you.
Then just be. Can you bear the silence in the empty moments?
- Grief Never Truly Leaves You (expertscolumn.com)
- How Can My Partner and I Overcome a Misscarriage (everydayfamily.com)
- It Takes Courage to Grieve (ptbertram.wordpress.com)
- Grief Can Not Be Rushed… (foscifamilies.wordpress.com)
- Observations on grief (rowanjanuary.wordpress.com)