Perhaps you begin by just believing in yourself. Even though you may feel empty you have something to give. Even if your emotions are right there on the surface, it’s ok. Even if you are trying to immerse yourself in your life to avoid your own pain, surrender. Join hands with your fellow mourner and let yourself feel.
When you mourn with someone who shares your loss you are not there to fix anything. You can’t cheer up a mourner, you can’t absorb or eliminate their pain. You needn’t hide your own pain, there is no need to put on clown face. When you are invited to share time with your grieving friend or relative just slow down, lean in, measure your words, use the name of the person who died, and listen. Hear what they are missing and feeling about the person you both loved. Share what you loved and miss about your person. Cry together. Acknowledging the pain is comforting. It’s enough.
People travel through life finding their way. It’s a bit like we are writing a script for our life or a book about the life we anticipate. In most cases the narrative is not reality. Often, we go to college to be one thing and end up being another. We marry the boy or girl of our dreams and then we find out what we dreamed wasn’t reality. We have children and we find out real flesh and blood children are not necessarily what we put in our script. Our script doesn’t include the challenges we face in real life. But the challenges come, and we are resilient. We do our best. Sometimes our best is excellent and sometimes it’s just passable. We get hurt and we survive and are happy and then the cycle happens again.
Rarely do we include the death of a dear friend, wife, husband or child in our script. When it happens, we suffer. We mourn. We may never understand but we have survived in the past and we will again.
Perhaps in time we will add something from the person who died into our life. We will embrace something they loved and incorporate it into our story. Because they loved the sunrise, we’ll become an early riser and marvel at the dawn. Because they never knew a stranger, we’ll talk to the person who checks out our groceries. Because they taught little children to read, we’ll volunteer to read stories to little ones at the library.
Mourning takes time. It cannot be rushed. For some it takes months and for others longer. Mourning has up and downs, good days and not so good days. Mourning is a journey. It can’t be skipped. It’s personal and yet it does not need to be solitary.
Laura Jean Truman tell us …
You can’t heal people you love. You can’t make choices for them. You can promise they won’t journey alone. You can loan them your map. But the trip is theirs.
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