Friday, September 21, 2012

Grief Bites

Just about the time you think you’re fine and you can move on, another wave of grief washes over you and you must try to stand up again. I think of it exactly like that – picturing in my mind a small child that has no idea that the wave approaching on the beach is going to knock her down, tumbling her until it deposits her on the sand above, hopefully. There’s always the chance that the defenseless toddler will be swept out to sea. The same possibility exists for grownups when faced with the sorrow of losing someone or something.

I lost my father in July, which I’ve talked about a couple of times since and some may be getting a little tired of hearing about it. However, my reason for writing this is to help others who find themselves on the wrong side of loss. You see, my most painful periods of anguish have come to me in the loss of my husband, my father and my business. I’m sure some of you are shocked that my business would rate up there with two of the most important people in my life, but loss is loss. The process is the same. And sometimes it has a cumulative effect.

For instance, when I fell apart after losing my small business, a great deal of that reaction was because it happened just a few years after the love of my life passed away.  All the pain of the first bereavement came back full force as my business had been intended for me to move on; to have a new passion in my life.

Here’s what a very close friend told me at the time of my husband’s death – “Give yourself time to heal.” Sounds so simple doesn’t it? But I resisted the advice thinking to myself, “Get over it already.” Now I sense the disturbance in members of my family that they are having a tough time recovering and for years have been listening to others beat themselves up over their paralysis in the face of misfortune. 

I think we live in a society that so dislikes pain that we will avoid facing it at all costs; but in reality, wouldn’t it be absolutely awful if we DID just get over it? I mean, 16 years of marriage (in my case) and 62 years (in my mother’s case) to be forgotten in a month? Hmmm… Or all the hopes, dreams, financial and time investment in a new venture to simply become history in the snap of a finger? No, no… that’s not the right way, not the sensible way and definitely not the human way.

I think my friend was absolutely right. Give yourself enough time to heal. I’m not saying we should wallow in our grief, because it truly does bite if nothing else, but instead be kind to yourself.  Let the process be natural. Don’t force moving on. Give the past and loved ones their due. And when you are truly ready, step into the future, carrying wonderful memories in your heart. 

Thank you, Geri, for those kind words all those years ago.


  1. Grief and healing is a very lengthy process. It's like a roller coaster. One day you may think you're doing really well with cooping, the next, not so much. Holidays may be the toughest time for feeling the loss. It's all right to acknowledge the gap they left behind. No one will think less of you for it. If they do, then they are the kind of people you don't need in your life.

    I understand you listing your business up there. It was a major loss as well. It was your income and lively hood. When my sister died my father stopped working his business and the money to pay the bills stopped coming in. I can relate. By the time my father passed away he had lost almost everything. We were grieving on so many levels.

    But as long as you avoid the process, the longer it will draw out. Keep that in mind. It's different for everyone and there are no guarantees how long it will take to heal, but knowing it's all right to feel what you feel is the first step along that process. Huge hugs.

    1. Debra - This is a very kind and thoughtful response. Thank you so much for taking the time. It is helpful to know there are others who have been through it and understand. Hugs back at you.

  2. I went through some very difficult times, but one, the illness of a child, stands out.
    The only way I could function at all was to ration my grief. Allow myself a certain amount of time to think about it and grieve.
    That may sound strange, but I couldn't fall apart, people were depending on me.Eventually the situation changed. My child survived.
    I still grieved for a certain amount of time each day, because things weren't the way I had always thought they would be.
    Now, there are aspects of my life I still don't dwell on.
    But I am at peace.
    I wish the same for you.
    Huggs. :-)
    Louise Sorensen
    louise3anne twitter

    1. I'm so happy to hear your child survived and I understand grieving for what will never be. You are obviously a very strong lady. I think I'll settle down soon, but worry for my family. Your words mean a lot. Thank you.

  3. You are so right, Kathy. We try to avoid pain at all cost and it usually results in prolonging the pain. Grief has no prescribed time period and many times it never leaves completely-- and that's not such a bad thing.

    Sometimes a sound or smell or memory brings back that longing to be with that which we lost. It's a testimony to our love.

    1. I was just speaking with my sister about how I still smell my husband who is gone 14 years now. I agree, the lingering memories are testimony and to be treasured.