Grief Is Not Something We "Complete"

Before the death of my husband, I'd never really experienced a huge life changing loss before. I'd lost grandparents at an early age, and other relatives I wasn't really close to, so it always felt as if I did "complete" my grief for them, I felt the pain and sadness, attended the funeral which helped, had sad feelings now and again, but do I think about them now? Being utterly honest, not really.

So my experiences didn't prepare me at all for what hit me when my husband died very unexpectedly. From the point of the funeral onwards, I'd say that is when my grief really hit me, but surrounded by people who kept telling me how strong I was, I carried on wearing the "I'm ok" mask to avoid the infamous head tilt when they ask how you are, you tell them you're struggling, cue head tilt, and "oh, but you were doing so well, what's happened?".

Easy answer. My husband died, and left me alone in a world of pain that I have no idea how to process, I am missing the person I used to see first thing and last thing of every day, I am missing the person who believed in me, loved me, comforted me, the list can go on forever. That's what happened.

I have processed my grief over the years, and looking back, I can see how far I've come, I've had no choice, like none of us do, but I can see that I've found ways of processing it, and doing my best to live with grief alongside me as a peaceful companion.

It will never be complete. I will always be missing part of my jigsaw. I will always feel the loss and pain, how could I not? He was my best friend and soul mate. Grief is definitely the price you pay for true love.

Helping Others Understand

The moral of this story is not to place time frames around grief, and to understand that the griever will never "complete", it's open ended.

Be kind with your words. Try to understand that bad days happen, and tears don't mean we've fallen off the grief wagon, it means we need to express the sadness, and release the pain. Please don't use phrases like "you were doing so well". We are doing well, it's just your perception of what "well" looks like that's off kilter. If you see someone struggling, ask them how they are, let them talk and listen to what they say. If they haven't got the words, hug them, hold them, let them know they're in a safe place. That really helps.

just be there, be present, be kind, and listen.

Thank you to Grief Anonymous for the meme.

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