A few days ago I was having a conversation with a dear friend and the topic of grief came up. It just so happens she has had to travel down that long road called grief too. So just with that alone we are “sisters” in grief. We know without saying it; we understand without giving it words; and we feel it because it permates our very soul and oozes out of our pores.
As we talked it became clear that through our conversation about how grief has treated us over the years, even though the circumstances are vastly different, there is an underlying tone of familarity – that is this…..
Grief hits hard, it’s unfair, it makes “low blows” and it doesn’t care when or how it just shows up.
After spending some time reflecting about each other’s experiences we hugged and went on our way. I thought to myself “isn’t it ironic that people come into our lives for a season for a reason” and I was just thinking that she was doing that for me. This is what grievers do best – we validate one another through our stories, our feelings and our sorrow. It is real to us – even though our experiences may be very different – the sting of grief is very much the same.
Later the next day this same friend came back to me and said she’d been thinking about what we had talked about. And what I’m about to share with you now my dear friends is what is so badly needed for people who support someone who is grieving, no matter where they are in the process. When you lose someone, especially a child, an only child – it changes your destiny. What I mean is for me my chance to see my daughter get married has been taken from me. To see my daughter have her own children and for me to become a grandmother – all taken from me. Her death has placed me on a course that I would have never dreamed possible. No one would.
I think when people think of loss they relate possibly to a grandparent or an aunt or uncle. But you can in no way compare the loss of a child, an only child to any other type – as it changes your life’s path so much so – it’s often hard to find your way. The road seems clouded by pain and the journey is very tiring most days. Especially on the days when a friend is about to become a grandmother or a family member is celebrating a graduation or a birthday. Those days are hard because they have been taken from me. From those of us who suffer silently feeling guilty becasuse we still grieve. Not just the loss of our child, but the loss of who we were to be.
It’s taken me four years to understand that I don’t have to fake it anymore. I don’t have to apologize for the way I feel anymore. It’s ok. I’m moving on, and I’m making a new life for myself. A new journey. But please don’t pretend my loss, your loss or a friends loss of this magnatude didn’t happen. Because the memories will remain both the good and the bad. The dreams lost and the plans cancelled. But love and understanding can conquer it all. You just have to reach out and validate those people who you know who have lost someone. To realize that their memories are still clear to them. And they want, they need to talk about them. For they, their loved one is real to them – even now.
That friend, when she came back she said the very thing I just wrote – “It just occured to me that what you said yesterday about your future – it’s so true – yet many don’t get that”. Truest statement yet to the understanding of the profound loss I continue to feel every single day.
Until next time