April 5, 2010 § Leave a comment
On top of last Friday night/Saturday morning being 6 months since Cody died, a couple of my very good friends also lost someone very close to them a week before. Needless to say, I’ve been a little emotional. For one thing, I feel as though I’m much more empathetic to people who are dealing with loss after losing Cody. I actually know the feeling of their pain now, and when its people that I genuinely care about, I feel it in a very particular way. I’m not trying to say that I understand exactly what their going through; I don’t. Every loss is particular to each different person. Their relationship with the person was unique, the way they handle tragedy is unique, their life outlooks are unique. In that sense, we can never really presume to fully grasp the loss that any person is suffering even if the circumstances we’ve been through are very similar. I think the feeling of pain, the feeling of the empty, broken heart, they overwhelming sorrow, are all universal, but how long they last, when they are most intense and how each person deals with those feelings are different.
Frankly, that makes helping people through their grief difficult. All we can do is try our best to figure out the way they deal with their grief and make our actions by which we try to help appropriate for that person and that loss. However, talking to multiple people about their losses taught be a few other things. For one, be there for them. Don’t tell them to call if they want to talk. Call them. If they want to talk, they’ll answer. If not, your action of calling lets them know that you’re thinking. Don’t stop being their for them just because they might not be ready to talk about it, deal with seeing people, or be around people for awhile and don’t feel like their rejecting you because they aren’t ready for it. The grieving process is a time to be completely selfish. Let the grieving person be selfish. They need to figure out what it is that they need to handle the pain. The grieving person has to be kind to themselves, too. If they need to stay in bed and cry every once in a while, then they need to do it. The only way to deal with the pain is to let yourself feel it fully instead of pushing it aside. The sooner if can be dealt with at its maximum capacity, the better. It helps us figure out what we need when those bad days inevitably raise their ugly, painful heads.
I also learned that they grieving person might not know what they need for awhile, and even if they do, they might feel bad asking. Do for them anyway. Of course, we still have to be careful about being overimposing. Some people want to grieve alone and others want to grieve with a crowd. The most we can to is try to be receptive to the way that person wants to grieve. I know this sounds ridiculous, but I think sometimes our sympathy makes us think “Well, if it was me, I’d want xyz.” But the truth is, we never really know. Our empathy makes us receptive to that person and that lost. It also makes us really, truly feel the pain their going through. For me, it is like ripping off scabs, bleeding all over again, and feeling my own pain and theirs at the same time.
But, that empathy is a good thing. Its our universal pains that truly join us together as a human family. We know our true friends through the difficult times. We really learn about each other through help one another through the pain. Friendship easy in the happy times; its in the hard times that we really see one another.