Healing Is Possible

Grief is a journey.
Time heals your wounds.
Bereavement has no road map.
Every day feels like a roller coaster.

Here, alas, is how grief works . . .

how-grief-worksAnd, for honesty and frustration’s sakes, let me add a few words after each of those clichés above . . .

Grief is a journey. But no one volunteers to take the trip.

Time heals your wounds. However the wounds you have don’t care a lick about time.

Bereavement has no road map. Though you may read excellent books about grief (like a compass, they’ll help with directions), you’ll still feel lost. Though you may receive heartfelt support from friends who’ve also experienced loss (and can identify grief landmarks to avoid or follow), you’ll still be alone at the most unexpected of moments.

Every day feels like a roller coaster. Really . . . you’ve got to be kidding! At least a roller coaster has a clear start, middle and finish. When will my damn merry-go-round (or other irritating amusement park ride metaphor) stop? Please, just tell me that!

Every image, metaphor and expert’s advice will be helpful . . . except when it doesn’t work for you. So where is the upside? What are at least a few comforting words?

Will my grief ever end? No. If you are a relatively normal and mostly caring person, you’ll always grieve a beloved’s death. How can you not?

At whatever point you chose to love another—perhaps for a parent at the moment of birth or love-at-first-sight for a spouse—grief entered your life. Love and loss are more than just two four-letter words; they are forever intertwined. A parent proudly watches a child enter a first day of school . . . and also feels a twinge of grief. A husband kisses his wife goodbye at the airport, bidding “Good luck!” as she departs for a job interview . . . but his heart also tightens with grief. What if she’s rejected, what if the plane has problems, what if _____? Yes, when love first came, grief was the unseen wound marking every next heartbeat.

This I believe:  your grief will get less worse. Unbearable becomes bearable.

This I also believe: don’t become isolated. If you need to talk, try to be with people willing to listen. If you need alone time, try to be with people who respect your privacy. But whatever your needs, be with others that will let you be yourself, that will let you weep and/or remain silent, become angry and/or share joyful memories.

All are different; healing is possible.

(Hospice vigorously protects a patient’s privacy. I’ll take care with how I share my experiences. Any names used are fictitious. Events are combined and/or summarized.)

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  1. Sometimes words are not the best way, just sitting with is better…. sometimes the one grieving needs to have someone check on them even when it annoys them….the care it expresses helps.

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