I had lunch with a friend the other day. She asked me something that I would have never have thought about. She asked me to choose 1 word to describe each of the months since my husband’s passing.
This stumped me at first. I had been so busy living day to day, just trying to get through each day without my best friend and father to our children, I hadn’t thought about the month as a whole. Finally I answered….
April – HEARTBROKEN – this word pretty much sums up the feeling of losing your other half. My heart hurt. I couldn’t breathe. My world came crashing down and it just plain hurt.
May – FOGGY – to be honest, I don’t remember much from the month of May. Life started again and there was so much to take care of to make sure the girls and I were covered in all areas of life.
June – SAD – June was a big month for us. Our anniversary was in June. It would have been 15 years. God knew why we couldn’t iron out the details of our big trip when we were planning it in January. Now I knew why. There’s also Father’s Day, a first without him. And our oldest daughter’s birthday. My dad also turned 60 at the end of June. Big month, MANY emotions…..most of them sad.
July – DEPRESSING – depression set in big time in July. There were things that I wanted to do, and things that needed to get done, but the motivation wasn’t there. Reality really set in that the reward of going through the day and having Rick come home in the evening, and spending time with him, was no longer there. There was nothing to plan for and look forward to. What was the point?
August – EMOTIONAL – Not only was I planning 2 celebration of life services (one for the area we were from, and one for the area we currently live), I was also putting together video slide shows of pictures of Rick through the years for the services. Daily looking at pictures of him, putting them together with songs that were relevant for the situation; planning who was going to speak about him, what day, time, scripture, memory table; the list goes on. So.Emotionally.Draining!
September- FREEING – for the first time in months all aspects of laying Rick to rest were complete. We had the private viewing and funeral, and both celebration of life services. There was nothing hanging over my head. My mind is finally freed up to focus on other things.
Grief looks different in different people, in different ways, at different stages. I know this is far from over. It will NEVER be over. Until I am with him again in Heaven, it will not be over. People ask what they can do for me in the mean time. I answer with an “I don’t know. I’ll let you know. ” But then I never do.
I love that people are so willing to help while someone is grieving. It’s great! But, reality is, that most won’t say what they need help with. For some, it’s their pride that gets in the way. For others, it’s the thought of “I have to figure this out for myself anyway.” And yet others, its because they simply, honestly, truly do not really know what they need.
At times, I can be one of the three. Most of the time, though, I am that last one. Most of the time my thoughts are so scattered that I have a hard time walking from one room to the next and actually remembering why I went in there.
So what should people do? Ask? Sure, you can still. You may encounter the few that actually know. But for those of us who don’t….
* Ramdomly call or text that person, even if it wasn’t your relationship before. It is always nice to hear from someone. It lets me know that I AM still being thought about. Remember, the main person in their life is gone now, and they question if anyone cares.
* Drop by little “thinking of you” gifts. It doesn’t have to be anything big, or expensive, just something that says “you were on my mind. ” Again, the person who would normally do this is now gone. One friend remembered a conversation and dropped by a shirt she made in response. Another dropped by my favorite drink at a local coffee shop. Nothing big, but enough to let me know they heard me, and remembered.
* Drop by dinner. We have so much on our minds that sometimes planning dinner escapes us, or feels too overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be fancy, or even home made. Just enough to take that one thing off their minds, and plate.
* Drop by just to sit with them. Sometimes we just need a little company. We may not feel like talking, but we want someone there.
These are just a few examples of what you could do. And this list is hardly a start, but hopefully enough to get you thinking. Don’t ever assume that just because they seem strong and put together on the outside that they don’t need you. They may be dressed and wearing makeup that day, smiling, but they are actually falling apart on the inside.
Grief looks different on different people, at different times, in different ways.
2 thoughts on “The Reality of Grief”
Brandy, all of us wish we could do so much more. Your friend asked a great question. For me to sum it up is the word unimaginable. The night you guys went to see Skillet I never thought it would be the last time I’d babysit for you both or possibly your last date as well. Grief is tough because it has no time limits. It’s always there. I hope to see you and the girls soon. I’ll be in touch when I get back from the beach. Love you
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As always, beautifully said! Please know how much you are loved. I think about you all often and am here for you no matter what. I’d come visit and sit more if we lived closer together. I love you.
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