Death. We run from it. We don’t discuss it. We do everything to delay it. We hate it. But, death still comes. Sometimes quickly but always too soon.
I remember the mind numbing all encompassing hold of grief. Some describe it as swimming in mud. I felt crushed! I found it hard to breath. Any activity exhausted me. But, sleep was elusive. At first, food was tasteless, but later it became a refuge. At least I could enjoy SOMETHING! I felt broken and useless. Too many treated me as fragile and avoided any contact that might upset me. Even in a group of people, I was isolated. The friends I thought I could lean on seemed to avoid me. I was as alone as I had ever been in my life
As I’ve talked with others who grieve I began to learn that I was not alone in my feelings.
If you have a grieving friend, don’t avoid “tender” subjects. Here’s what we advise:
You are NOT going to hurt me. My pain is already deep. So please don’t put off the phone call or the visit.
Don’t be afraid of my tears. They fall often, whether you are there or not. You don’t make me cry, but you can allow me to cry.
You really don’t need to “comfort” me with standard sayings. I’ve heard them. Many times. Just being willing to be with me is comfort.
A hug means more than any words.
Please talk about my loved one. I yearn to know he/she is not forgotten.
Most of all, don’t avoid me because you are uncomfortable. I’m not comfortable either, but I don’t have a choice. Just walk with me.
It’s been 15 years since grief began to suffocate me. I’ve walked through it and survived. There are still regrets. There are precious memories both before and after Terry’s death. I learned to live in my new normal; a normal I could never imagine during those dark days. I healed from the wounds of grief, but I carry the scars. Much like weather causes rheumatism to flair up, there are days when the ache returns.
For I will always be a member of that most hated club: widowhood.