Having to get up and "do life again" after someone you loved has died is really bloody hard.
I remember the day after my husband's funeral, I had got home afterwards and cried until I could cry no more, I slept on the sofa and was awake until the sunrise, then managed to fall asleep through sheer exhaustion.
Friends wanted to take me out for lunch, and I just couldn't face it. I was told to "just get myself together" that the company would do me good and some fresh air would make me feel better.
I stopped being able to "people". I didn't want to be around anyone. My friends reminded me that they were married and their partner was still alive. Work felt too normal, and I knew I couldn't just go in and wear the happy mask I'd need to. If I could have avoided the world, I absolutely would have done so, gladly.
I got pushed into going back to work far sooner than I wanted. My work team felt it would be good for me, but I could barely manage to get myself up off the sofa, how on earth was work even possible? I didn't shower for 8 days after his death, I know that because I only showered because it was his funeral. Self care was right out of the window.
As a total aside, and a bit of a tangled ramble, I truly believe people say some stuff because they feel uncomfortable with your grief. Instead of just understanding, appreciating, and acknowledging that you feel rubbish, they just want you to feel ok, so keep pouring positivity at you (toxic positivity too) in the hope that you'll just snap out of it and their words will make you feel better.
Just be kind. Don't judge. That's all.
Helping Others Understand
I hope this post has given you an insight into how hard even the simplest of things can feel when someone is consumed by their grief.
Seeing someone you care about in pain IS hard, but if it's hard for you as a spectator, how do you think it feels to be going through this first hand?
Telling them they're strong, that they're doing great, it's all just a facade, because now that you think we're strong and doing well, we try to keep doing this. They don't want to be met with the famous head tilt. That one that often accompanies a disappointed sigh as they utter the words "what happened, you were doing so well".
The words seem harmless, but they hurt more than words can express. Just understand that this is difficult, grief is a rollercoaster, and they really are doing their best to cope with something that's turned their world upside down.
The smallest of things can take up more energy than they have right now. Unless you've stood in their shoes, and been there, you can't really understand, and while I'm glad you don't truly understand that pain they feel, you can still really help them.
Just be there, be present, be kind, and listen. You don't always have to have the answers. You just need ears, to listen. That is all.
Image credit: https://www.notsalmon.com/