We live in a society in Western culture where we do not even say the D word. We say passed away, no longer with us or has gone forever…he or she is dead seems to scare us. Dead is a four letter word but not an offensive word. Since we feel uncomfortable or awkward we do not always know what to say. Sometimes we laugh at the wrong time at funerals…that’s okay. Other times we will hug a grieving friend or relative and just say, Gee, I’m so sorry. And THAT is enough. The person grieving usually cannot even remember what you have said but remembers the genuine warmth and compassion of the person. I know I just appreciated a good long hug and that even if I cried, the person still held on.
The ups and downs with the emotions for many months to come (and years) are abundant. I have written about youths and bereavement here . We feel feelings of sadness, anger, guilt, confusion to name a few and I would even add, temporary loss of memory and feeling like you are in a daze are “some” of the feelings we can experience when mourning the loss of a loved one.
I volunteered several years when I lived in Toronto for Bereaved Families of Ontario where I was surrounded by the most compassionate and caring people I have ever worked with. Here is a link of amazing articles on grief and a few written by a woman who trained me, who supported each volunteer and gave of herself tirelessly, Betty Ann Rutledge.
Grief, to me, is like a pair of orthotics. I have the ONLY pair like it. I am not talking about those brands they advertise on television that you step on a machine and that company mails you one of the dozen models they have. I mean the foot doctor that evaluates the way you walk, examines your old pair of shoes and how they are worn out in some areas more than others and makes a mold of your foot…so don’t tell me the lumps, bumps and curves on my foot are identical to anyone in the world…I will not believe you.
So be mindful when you are writing a sympathy gushed condolence card to a friend or relative…not to assume how they are feeling or even try to write it out how they are feeling and will be feeling because you have no clue exactly how they feel. Heck, they don’t know half the time when some of their roller coaster emotions are part of their grief. Many do not. Just keep that in mind.
Oh and that includes any person of any age and someone who may have lost a pet. For many a pet, is friend who loves unconditionally…such a huge loss to experience. Saying, “you can get another one” is NEVER helpful.
© Cheryl-Lynn 2015/01/24