Monday, April 7, 2014
Ten Years Out
This has always been the tension; the terrible grief countered by the healing thrust. Ten years out was sort of nowhere land. The grief still dominated much of my thinking and feelings. I was beginning to back off from mentioning my bereavement with new acquaintances because it just didn’t come up as often. Time does make a difference. I had found Compassionate Friends and other support groups helpful for quite a while, but at some point I just moved on. I remember so many other parents during that time. One mother I got to know pretty well captured the longing of most of us. Her eighteen-year-old son was killed trying to beat a train at the crossing. She so wanted to go back and do that day over. She had a thousand things that, if she had done or not done, would have changed the timing and he would still be alive. I, too, have wished that, over and over, just one small thing done or said differently would have changed things. That was the topic of conversa- tions for years, the “if onlys” and the “what ifs,” the terrible pain of wondering if it could have been different, but knowing it never would be. We often clung to each other like we were drowning, and I guess in a way we were. We were always searching for relief and redemption.
Hanging in is the greatest gift you can give a bereaved person. Everyone gets sick and tired of the same old story, the same old grief, including the bereaved. Still it goes on, and on and on. The other gift is honesty. When you just can't hear it one more time, please tell the person that "not today, maybe tomorrow, but not today." I urge bereaved people to keep a list of ten or so that you can rotate through. There is always someone on that list that can listen today.