Every one of us handles grief differently. We walk around dazed and confused trying to understand the deeper meaning of death. Some of us throw ourselves back into our work to be distracted, trying to shake off our grief, while others may fall into a deep dark pit where they try to search for a deeper meaning of it all.
It is difficult when we are open to talk about our journeys and about the loved ones we’ve lost but, sometimes other people aren't. Relationships with others can crumble which often widens the gap
A year or so ago, I spoke to several other mothers who had lost children. They told me the people they were once friends with are no longer part of their lives. Sometimes parents form a bond with one another through their children but having to go through one of life’s harshest blows of losing that child; it can throw the friendship off balance resulting in avoidance due to the grief. Communication then becomes less frequent which distances friendships.
However, there have been friends who we reconnect with, where we talk about our feelings which help resolve unity with the other person.
The friends who were in our lives years ago may not necessarily be part of our lives today because as we grow, we continue to readjust in some way. Our views and our ideas of the world change and our circle of friends begin to shift.
Grief can be a sensitive subject for so many of us, and I genuinely wish it wasn’t. However, this journey teaches us so much about our grief process by way of others.
Friends and family are available earlier on, but not always in the months that follow. As the months roll on our friends often go about their own lives.
We learn from our grief process that if people are not comfortable reaching out, then chances are we probably won’t hear from them.
Often friends and family feel they are intruding, but they aren’t. Sometimes being present and having a listening ear is more valuable than words. Silence is often golden. Listening to someone else speak from their heart can filter empathy and understanding into another person’s heart because when you begin to hear, you start to connect on a soul level.
When I was grieving my daughter during the first year, I would go to the grocery store and occasionally talk to shoppers in the store and mention my daughter. Some of these people would have compassion and empathy, and they were mere strangers! Sometimes we often find comfort in unexpected places, and these words of hope are encouraging to each one of us no matter how small.
To have comfort, and support helps a grieving person in many ways. We are not always looking for answers, just a presence. Let’s face it; nobody wants to feel abandoned in their grief — anything a person considers small means so much to us because they are noticing our pain.
As we learn from life’s experiences, we live and learn about other people, but ultimately, we begin to learn about ourselves.
During sad times, we start to depend on our strengths, which ultimately pull us through and this new-found strength starts to build within. In time, we begin to grow through our grief and continue along life’s journey.
Louise Suzanne Boyd, M.Div