National Grief Awareness Day – Lessons for the Uninitiated
Psssst, would you like to know a secret???
Grief is NORMAL!!!
So let’s congratulate United States for creating a National Grief Awareness Day. Its purpose is to raise awareness about grief by providing resources to those going thru it and encouraging public discourse about the subject.
AS A SELF-PROCLAIMED EXPERT ON THE SUBJECT, HERE’S MY TWO CENTS:
Grief is hard. Really hard.
Grief of a loved one… even HARDER.
Grief never ends. There is no time limit. No date when closure is completed. Hopefully, in time, the nature and magnitude of our grief changes, yet our love for those who depart continues thru our lifetime and so too our grief.
“The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not get over the loss of a loved one; you’ll learn to live with it.” —Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
IT’S A LIFETIME COMMITMENT.
Like having a child. The work never ends. Some stages might be easier and quicker to move on from than others but it’s never far from the surface. Even in moments of joy, it lives deep within us.
It doesn’t end; but, in time it often shifts enabling us to find our unique way to integrate living and grieving.
THERE IS NO RIGHT WAY TO GRIEVE
Many may seek professional help to learn how to coexist with grief. Some become even better versions of their old self (before the loss) and go on to do remarkable work that honors their loved one and offers improvement for society.
Yet, regardless of the growth, if given the choice, we would happily return to our old self if it meant we could reverse death and have our loved one back with us in this lifetime.
Life is never the same again.
LIKELY, IF YOU HAVE NOT EXPERIENCED GRIEF, YOU SHALL. IT ENSNARES ALL IN TIME.
Yet the uninitiated often question and even dare to judge how others grieve.
I SUGGEST A DIFFERENT, HEALTHIER AND MORE COMPASSIONATE APPROACH TO THE BEREAVED.
Society teaches us to keep our emotions locked up. Opening up about our grief journey is the most vulnerable of conversations because we are inevitably told it’s time to ‘get over it’ and learn to keep our emotions under lock and key. In time, a few months or years, we rarely discuss it at all. But, trust me, it’s always there – usually just below the surface waiting for a memory to float by or a milestone to arrive on the calendar.
Consider it a badge of honour if someone trusts you with their most vulnerable of emotions – grief.
Leave the judgement at the door & don’t try to fix us!
Listen. Hold space. Accept.
We shall all meet this enemy called death. It is the unwanted outgrowth from the tree of love. We can try to remove it from our life but it is inevitable.
So let’s take the time to learn, understand and respect those who are grieving and hope the same compassion will be provided to you when the day arrives.
A National Grief Awareness Day is a fabulous way to begin the conversation. I hope to create a similar national day in Canada so we too can begin to shatter the taboo about death and grief.