Spring stole in when I wasn’t looking – much like everything else around me that happened while I was in a haze of grief and if it wasn’t for Doreen’s push, I would still be wrapped up in my age-old floral housecoat wallowing in deep cups of self-pity and stale packets of Batchelor’s minestrone soup.
Doreen was right, and as much as I hated my sisters’ cheerful countenance, sage counsel, and witty remarks, she was right. ‘You ought to do something, Gloria, you ought to go out, do things, meet people, get your life together.’
‘I really ought to do something,’ Gloria thought for the umpteenth time as she tried to organize her thoughts on her life – or the semblance of her life. A fresh upsurge of panic made her heart race, and her hands grew clammy. ‘Failing to do something is like dying while still alive,’ Doreen’s words echoed in her mind. ‘But that’s how I feel.’ ‘I’m dying alive,’ she argued. “Stop it. “Just stop it,” she muttered. “You’ve got to get back your sense of perspective.”
‘Maybe getting organised or a holiday would be a good way to get started again,’ Doreen suggested. She knew Gloria too well and knew how her sister had enjoyed a predictable and efficient life. For Gloria, everything was planned, in its proper place and therefore she rarely lost control of things – not until the miscarriage, not until her husbands’ sudden death. He was forty-one. Micks’ death appeared to have taken their plans to the coffin – a plan to buy a house, to start a family, to support Gloria’s fledging home-based business till she got off the ground and now she simply floundered.
My dearest Father-in-law just passed on, my husband aches.
I’m sharply reminded that our time apportioned to sojourn here is short. We must not tarry in seeking our purpose, finding peace, making beautiful memories and in living a life that would leave wonderful, indelible marks in the hearts of those who we love.
To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die. Thomas Campbell
For some reason, some people find the grieving process embarrassing and uncomfortable, thus the tendency for such people is to avoid those who show their pain, or on the other hand, to hide their pain and carry on with life as usual.
At some point in time, we all suffer a loss and we grieve, but because majority of people think of grief as that single instance or short period of time of experiencing pain or sadness in response to a loss, many are literally rushed through the grieving process and encouraged to party away their sorrows so to speak.
What many fail to understand is that grieving is a highly emotional process which differs from person to person and can last a long time. No one can tell another how to grieve because you don’t bear their pain.
For anyone who’s going through loss, there are ways that help to mitigate the situation even when the pain is palpable and seems unending.
Give it time and always allow yourself the quietness and space you need to be alone. Have a meltdown if you need to. Tears help to rid the body of stress hormones.
Accept the way you feel, no matter how you feel and don’t judge yourself for grieving over your loss.
Write it out. Write a letter to your loved one, or journal your thought process about your loss.
Talk about it with others who have experienced loss. How do they find the strength to carry on? Don’t be ashamed to ask such questions.
Talk to your lost loved one even if your conversation feels strange and one-sided.
Look through your old photos, letters, emails or other things that you shared. Relive those wonderful times/and not so wonderful times shared.
Find a hobby that makes you happy, kick-start a healthier lifestyle.
Wear something of theirs, like a piece of jewellery, chain, watch…which could instil a sense of closeness.
Honour them with poetry if you are into writing poetry or a piece of testimonial that you are able to write infused with details of your loved one.
Take it one day at a time, celebrate life as much as you can, get out more into nature and remember to honour them by living happy and living the way that they would have wanted you to.
How to offer support to someone recently bereaved and what not to say to them.
Don’t avoid someone who’s been bereaved. It only hurts them further. Sending a brief note, text, email, phone call or other means of contact is a good idea.
Don’t ever compare the loss of someone’s loved one to the loss of a pet.
Don’t tell someone how they’re feeling because their grief is personal and everyone process things differently.
Don’t stop someone crying or telling them not to cry. Though this might be meant to be helpful, it seems as if you are shutting them down and asking the person to bottle up their emotion.
A reassuring, gentle touch to let them know you are there is sufficient. You are not obliged to say something immediately.
Remember that grief lasts long after the delivery of the sad news. Check on the person at regular intervals to know how they are doing.
Following the shocking news, the first few days and even weeks may be hard on the bereaved that daily tasks like cooking and eating become difficult. Sending food and offering to help with mundane admin tasks is helpful. Your friend may need extra support.
Soon after the death, someone needs to sign the death certificate. This usually falls on a close member of the family and it’s a tough task to do alone. If you are in a position to go with the bereaved ensure that they have all the vital information and documentation required because a death certificate cannot be altered.
Attend the funeral if possible. It is comforting to know that there are lots of people to see off a loved one.
Be mindful of saying such things like: “they have gone to a better place,” or “they died at a good age.” There’s never a right age to lose someone you love.
Don’t be afraid to share the minutiae details or funny anecdotes of your day with them. Distracting, normal everyday news of other people’s lives can be comforting.
Don’t let fear hold you back from helping. Be someone’s shoulder and listening ear as they walk through their grief.