If you’ve experienced deep loss with death, you’ll know what I’m talking about… Heck, you could even write this yourself.
And I’m not talking about your grandma or grandpa dying at 92, which, of course it is sad when your grandparents die and you wish they could live forever. If they were lucky enough to raise their children and see their children’s children grow up and perhaps even THEIR children, that’s a good solid run.… they were so blessed. I’m talking about rip-the-rug-out-from-under-you, throw-you-out-of-an-airplane-without-a-parachute kind of loss.
If you haven’t experienced this kind of loss, read on if you have someone close to you that is going through the stages of grief.
I can remember a time before I experienced tragic loss and funerals would come up within the threads of my large family or group of friends and I would think to myself “It doesn’t really matter if I go”…. “What’s the difference if I get there or not”…. Or, “I have so much work to do” or even seemingly more valid (it’s not) “Darn, I don’t have anyone to watch the kids” … there… no big deal… I’ll send a card…boom. Life moved on.
Fast forward to the tragic loss in my family…. The whole world went silent for me… I still feel like part of me is with my person and part of me is still on the Earth…. The sun is shining, the world is somehow still spinning, the seasons are still passing…. But nothing is the same. The truth is, nothing ever will be. Can’t sugar coat death.
This is why I cry (sometimes embarrassingly so) at funerals.
When I see the family of the person who passed, I know that right now, they are in a total, surreal-like fog. Most likely, they won’t even remember this day… and if they do, it may just come back to them in bits and pieces over years…. Years.
I also know that the “hard part” hasn’t even started for them yet…. And that makes me cry more… knowing what lies ahead for them.
I had people who experienced the same reach out to me when I experienced my loss and I’m truly grateful…. Otherwise, I would have at times thought I was losing my mind. While grief is different for everyone and everyone experiences grief differently, they all had similar things to say….
- Year one is a blur, you don’t really remember anything
- Year two is harder than year one… you’re just coming out of your “grief fog” and things become more “real”.
- Year three is a little easier… but you’ll regress back to year two sometimes … awesome.
I still find myself feeling like Rumpelstiltskin… like someone just dropped me from 2014 to 2017 and I missed everything in between…. Is Trump really president (seriously)?
Years later, l would ask myself who attended my person’s funeral and who didn’t… early on, I wrote off the ones who didn’t and felt a new kinship with the ones who did…. I was so angry in my grief and it was easy to direct anger at the people who in my mind “should have been there”. I realize now that they were just like I was… they haven’t experienced this type of loss yet and they don’t understand… let them hang onto that as long as they can.
Surfacing from grief can take years and it’s important to note that our brains are solution oriented and wired to make sense of things. This can create a merry go round in our heads… trying to make sense of something that makes absolutely no sense at all.
If you are on this ugly merry go round, go easy on yourself… if you manage to just dress yourself or your kids, you did a good job. Tomorrow is a new day. Hang in there and know you are not alone. Keep a lookout for signs from your person… no matter what your religion or beliefs are, your soul never dies… they will be around you as long as you are here. Not in the form that you would like, but they are there, I promise.