Thoughts on Grief

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Guest Writer Paula Sangeleer, Cool 101.3

A dear friend of mine is suffering a great family loss. A sudden, unthinkable, devastating loss. The kind that seems out of order. A really, really big loss. I wanted to tell my friend so many things all at once. As it turns out, I’ve become somewhat of an expert on the topic of grief, this due to my own experiences and those of people close to me. That being said, thought I’d share some thoughts, some things to do and not to do. These things may or may not help you. I give them with gratitude for your openness and a sincere wish to bring comfort.

Sure, most people have met grief as a sort of acquaintance. However many have met grief in a way that the grief joins you as a friend who will never ever leave you. Grief will seem at first like the worst friend you have ever had, a crappy room mate who messes everything up. The first year is the worst. Why a whole year? Well, you have to get through the firsts, first of each holiday, first birthday without your loved one-yours and theirs, first time you grab your phone to call them, and many more. There will be good days and bad days. Grief may seem to remove all of your skin, leaving only frayed nerves that will be sensitive to each and every thing they encounter. The skin grows back over time. As humans, we are equipped with the ability to feel hundred of emotions (maybe more), and when grief sits by your side, you are likely to feel them all, even the very dark ugly ones, all of them. Let them come, and let them go. You may even feel as though your pain is the worst, most horrible, bigger and badder than anyone else has had or will ever have and that no ever could possibly understand-and you are correct. This is true because it is yours and yours alone.

Here are some tips and tricks to guide you and your new friend Grief as you go.

DO:
Keep your close ones close. Let them protect you and love you. They are happy to do so.
When you don’t know what to do, drink some water. Refuel the tears. Breathe deeply.
Journal and write it all out, to yourself or in a letter to your departed loved one.
Seek professional counseling and support groups, can’t hurt to give it a try.
Trust that the stars are aligned for you and that you will see signs from beyond.
Know that you are loved and that time is on your side and you will heal.
Think of ways and ideas to memorialize your person, take your time.
Ask for a hug when you need one. Cry if you want to.
Sleep a little more to escape and heal. Go easy with substances, avoid them if you can.
Be kind to yourself.

DO NOT:
Stay in the dark places too long. You will go there, do not stay too long.
Follow after your departed, may seem like a good idea, it is not.
Worry that you are crazy, your spouse and/or close friends will tell you if you are headed that way.
Make any snap decisions, nothing major, wait at least 90 days, a year if possible.
Do not lose hope.

This new permanent friend, grief, will become easier to live with. You may even forget it or ignore it from time to time. Eventually you will see that this friend actually opens your heart, makes you more compassionate and empathetic, able to help others. You will laugh and smile when you think of your loved one, I promise. However long it takes, all you have to do is survive it, and you can. This journey is as unique and personal as the lines on your face or the light in your eyes. It is yours, make friends with it. Each day is temporary, and we don’t know how many we get.

inspired by E.W.