It wasn’t until about 10 years later that I had another grievous time missing my dad. I didn’t expect to have that kind of meltdown but that’s the way grief is. It sneaks up on you at times you least expect it. Being unprepared is like you’ve walked the hallway of your home, stumbled across an object and have no idea how it got there or where to put it. The options are: hold it, toss it back on the floor, or designate it to the junk drawer. All of those options present problems though. If you hold it, even if the object is only as small as a paper clip, eventually your hand will become so tired you could end up with hand function problems. If you toss it back on the floor eventually you are just going to stumble across it again and if you put it in the junk drawer ….well… everyone knows about the junk drawer. So, Whom do we feel safe enough to share our grief with? So, how do we appropriately deal with the unexpected when we just don’t know what to do? Where do we put that kind of grief? For me it has been in writing and music.
Ways to handle grief will be different for each person but to help you in the process, consider how another person may be able to help.
Consider the following:
1. Who can you trust enough to allow you to honor your grief? Friends? Family members? A co-worker? A grief counselor? A support group? This will be important to identify and accept. I say accept because people close to you may not be the best at allowing your grief. It’s not because they don’t mean well but not everyone is equipped to handle the full range of grief you inevitably will experience.
2. Will you learn to say this phrase? “Will you please hold this for me?” This isn’t really what you would necessarily say, but it serves as a symbol of the dilemma of trying to find a place for the newly found household object and articulating your need to ask for help. By asking for help, this allows others to help you while you figure out the best ways to honor your grief.
One last question…. and this one is for those who have friends or family members who are grieving.
3. Will you answer your friend when they’ve asked for help? It’s not that simple, I know. Some people never ask for help and many of us aren’t clued in to people’s needs or to the subtle ways people might ask. Some people are only comfortable showing the emotions of anger and bitterness. Becoming vulnerable may not be something they have yet made room for in their lives. Others are full of anxiety or may exhibit behaviors they didn’t before. Some may become completely disenchanted with any type of organization or group, whether it’s religious, educational, community, job-related, etc. The reality is your friend may likely be searching for a place to rest from carrying their grief. The Apostle Paul instructs the Galatian church through a letter to become a shoulder to each other when carrying burdens. The text reads, “Bear one another’s burdens…” and that directive serves as a principle with just as much importance today as it did then because no one was meant to carry burdens all by themselves.
Questions open for comments: In what ways have you been successful asking for help with your grief?
I know grief. When our daughter passed away at almost three months old. It was the first time I had been anywhere out side of our home since we’d left the hospital with empty arms. We were at our church in the office. I watched all the hustle and bustle. When it hit me that we were there to plan our daughter Cameron’s funeral. I felt my legs get weak, I was fighting to hold back the big ugly cry. I wanted to run out of that office and scream and cry and hit and thow things. The pastor looked over at me in the middle of his conversation and it was if he was looking right through me and could see my heart in a billion pieces. He stopped mid conversation and came over put his arms around me and I collapsed in his arms. He took my husband and I to his office and explained…the bad news is that this overwhelming all consuming pain and burden of grief that is all encompassing will never go away. The good news he said is that it does get more manageable with time. One day to the point that it will be one of the many things I carry that I can pull out and mourn when I want to and put it back again.
I have found this to be true and comforting. It becomes part of who you are. If you can talk about your grief with people who are supportive, kind and caring people with out letting it dwelling and letting it completely consume you it is healthy. I have found that doing little things like wearing something that represents her in every family photo helps too. The day of her funeral I wore a clip with a wit flower in my hair. Since it is in all our family photos. Even if it is in one of my other daughters hair or clipped to someone’s shirt. We also include her in all of our little art projects. Eg. When make Christmas ornaments,we also make one for her too . Knowing that we will see her again one day also makes it easier to keep moving on with this life we’ve got to live first.
First of all let me say “Thank you,” for reading my posts and for sharing your story. Having been acquainted with grief you understand that it becomes part of you and never completely goes away. We all do the best we can at living with the loss.
What a beautiful way to remember your daughter. I love that you include her hairclips in your family photos and make Christmas ornaments for her when you are doing your Christmas art projects. I would like to share this with my readers on my next post.
Until then may I wish you Joy in the mourning.