Last night, I spoke with a friend who is losing her grandmother. One part of the conversation went like:
“So many people are saying they don’t know what to say…”
“Oh, I know what to say. I’m a mother-fucking-expert on grief and loss.”
That, dear reader, is a lot of bullshit and bravado. I do know a lot about the grieving process–I started blogging as a way to cope–and I also know how to listen. At the same time, I think it’s rather difficult to be an expert on something that is so intimate and personal for everyone who experiences it. Everyone eventually experiences it.
I do know that saying goodbye to a loved one, no matter how hard, is infinitely preferable to not saying goodbye. I also know that grieving doesn’t get easier, one just learns different ways to cope. If taking ownership of Kübler-Ross’ Five Stages of Terminal Illnes works for you, do it. Personally, after going through the process before, i prefer the idea used in grief therapy for kids–that of a tornado. Some days, you’re fine–you’re at the top of the tornado. Somedays, you can’t get out of bed and your life is devastated–thats when the tornado touches the ground and cuts a swathe through your daily functions. Most days, you’re in the middle. All sorts of thoughts and feelings hit you. One minute you’re in denial of everything that has occurred, the next you’re in a state of depression so deep, you can’t even cry anymore. The next day, you remember a favorite story and you have enough energy for a half-day at work–before you’re overcome by an anger so palpable, you want to punch something.
I know that time helps one develop coping skills, but time alone does not heal wounds.
I know grief is personal–and every time I talk about it, I have all those thoughts and feelings rush back. I’m lucky enough to have learned how to cope, so listening and supporting others is still easy for me. I just wish it was a bit easier for the people who need to talk to me.