We know loss is painful, but none of us is quite prepared for the loneliness that descends on us.
From the Grieving Heart:
People seem shy around me. And no one mentions you. Why is that?
Are they worried about upsetting me? I'm already upset.
Are they concerned about me tearing up and grieving? Don't they know I'm already grieving and can’t help it?
Do they not want me to think about you? Don't they know you’re always in my heart and never far from my mind?
Have they forgotten you? Don't they know I can't?
They may not talk about you, but I will. I will speak your name. I will say it out loud and often - a hundred times in a row if I want.
You are the invisible elephant in every room. Why can't we talk about you? Why can't we share what we miss and what you meant to us? Why can't we grieve together?
Maybe I'm unrealistic. Perhaps this is simply the way the world works. People leave, and life goes on. I can't expect others to get it or understand. It would be nice if they were sensitive and mentioned your name from time to time, but that's up to them.
Grief is lonely. I'm lonely.
I hope this gets better, eventually.
Loneliness is natural, and tough.
There might be people who mention our loved one and share what they miss about them, but chances are these people will be few. Most will express sympathy at first, and then promptly go on with their lives.
We're stunned, immobilized, and trying to figure out what happened, why, and what it means. It's almost as if we relocated to a new life. The world looks familiar, yet everything has changed. All of life feels different. It would be nice if others accepted this, but we certainly can’t expect them to understand it.
We can’t wait around for others to mention our loved ones’ names and ask about them. We must take our own hearts seriously and begin speaking their names as often and as loudly as we need to. We courageously begin to share stories and memories with others. We encourage others to mention our loved ones and share with us what they miss about them.
As we bravely speak their names, we give ourselves and others a chance to grieve. We present them with an invitation to join us in our grief. It might be emotionally uncomfortable, but it can be good and healing. Perhaps some will distance themselves, and that’s okay. We must grieve. It’s where we are.
We will speak their names. Often.
Affirmation: Even if others don't mention you, I will. I'll give us a chance to grieve together.
Adapted from the USA Best Book Award Winner, Comfort for Grieving Hearts: Hope and Encouragement in Times of Loss.