Grieving… For Life

Westley:    I told you I would always come for you. Why didn’t you wait for me?”

Buttercup: “Well… you were dead.”

Westley: “Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for a while.” – William Goldman

While this is a time of year when people are ‘supposed’ to be happy, many are not. The fact of life we all have to contend with at some point is that there is misery, abject misery, that appears in everyone’s life at one point or another. Watching others rejoice only exasperates your grief. Now it is true each of us has a variety of things that can make us feel badly. We all grieve in individual fashion.

Having worked closely with all sorts of individuals and families I have seen the gamut.

We all have different tolerance levels and we all stand alone to get through parts of this process; it is a process.

If a loss occurs early in life, we learn to mourn. We usually have parents, siblings, friends and others to assist in this.

Losing a pet for example can have a ritual of burial associated with it that makes it more bearable. Replacing a pet can help.

If, however, the loss is of a major person in the child’s life the grief can be overwhelming and inconsolable for a long time.

As young adults, we may have a person we believe we love to discard us for another. This is also grief.

All of this is leading to the main event; the final loss of a genuine love, when we are adults.

Most people as adults suffer a plethora of losses. It can be grandparents, parents, money, possessions, a body part, or prolonged illness. All things to grieve about to be sure. How the spirit ‘fights’ back depends on a number of factors.

The history and having survived other losses will help. The strength emotionally that each individual possesses will tell part of the story. The support system of family, friends, professionals can help. Being with others who have gone through the same type of loss will bring some comfort. They will understand, but still they are not YOU! But, in the end, the final ‘push’ to go on must come from you, and you alone. There are people who get ill, take drugs of all sorts, and there are suicides, to be sure, but barring that, most go on.

The beginning of grief will cause an empty hole in the pit of the stomach. Things that remind you of happier times will trigger sadness. Tears can flow at any point and be a river.

Being upset and just going through the motions of being alive, without joy, can last a long time.

For some they have a shrine to grief and they wear it like a badge. Even if someone dies and is no longer in pain the final exit hurts those behind who care.

It is not easy to get over the hurdle that life demands if you are to go on and LIVE.

No one wants to be around anyone who is unhappy, morose, and not truly engaged. You cannot be interested in anyone else’s life if you are wrapped up and ‘stuck’ in your own unhappiness.

There is no time limit, and no one way to get through this part of life. You can tell yourself that you are still alive, and that life is for the living. You can tell yourself that life goes forward not backward. You can tell yourself that you should get over the ‘blockage.’ You can remember the happier times and know you did all you could and brought happiness to a loved one, for example. All good thoughts to keep in mind and keep repeating.

BUT, the feelings will not just dissolve or go away. The ‘sting’ will lessen, and you can help yourself by ‘policing’ your thoughts and not ruminating. You do not have to ‘cling’ to sorrow.

Some of this depends on your stage in life and what time you perceive you have left to still enjoy… whatever.

Some people in the face of a final awful medical diagnosis, for example, rise to the occasion and make every minute count; address things they might never have, and make their ending unbelievable in many ways. That opportunity would not have been possible without the circumstances. I saw it often when I worked in a hospital.

We are all a compilation of our personality coupled with our experiences.

The real trick in life is to make the things that happen to you… work in your behalf.

It’s ALL learning. AND you show children, if you have them, and others what can be done. You are the example for living and dealing with grieving.

While you may want to ‘die’ as well, you didn’t… YET!

“Some love lasts a lifetime. True love lasts forever.” – Anonymous

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