Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Reaching out is hard
Bereaved families never congregate in easy to identify or common groups. We are scattered through out the population. That keeps us safe and at the same time isolated from each other. As I say in my book, it’s all the small choices along the way that make the difference in recovery. Below is one of the thousands I made along the way.
A newly bereaved person needs an advocate because she is just not “with it” for months. Another of those small choices that proved to be far reaching came after the funeral. Both Morrie and I were just tired. He made the absurd suggestion of, “Why don’t we stop at Burger King and just be alone for a minute?” At that moment anything was fine with me, just stop the world. So that is what we did—had a burger, fries, and a Coke. Those few moments allowed me to regroup enough to go on. That incident was the beginning of a pattern that still works for me: the intense grieving followed by something mundane and “normal.” If I ignore the intense feelings, then I never get the mundane and normal, because those intense feelings are always trying to escape.
I have learned over the years that my grief upsets most folks that haven’t dealt with their own, and my sadness triggers theirs. The further one gets from the funeral, the less tolerance others have for one’s grief. “Shouldn’t you be over it by now?” is the most common question. What an absurd and insulting statement. Bereavement is a condition that never clears up. The loss of a child is a never-ending process of feeling wounded and regaining wholeness. Telling grieving parents to get over their grief would be like telling an amputee not to miss her arm.
When I am