I speak from the heart when I talk about grief. I am no grief counsellor and have to say that there are many bereavement support groups out in the public domain, but for some that is not what they want.
These are my observations and musings, but also a personal story. Those that know me know that in 2014 the love of my life, Mike (he was a reader on here for a while) died in my arms. No amount of CPR was going to bring him back and he 'went home'. I have attached a picture of the big man with this, so if you are seeing that, you know who I am talking about.
I am the first to admit that I went into a state of shock that made me almost catatonic. My own family had never seen me like that before or since. My appetite went, I couldn't stop shaking and I went between crying/howling to utter silence. During this time I turned to my spirituality and belief in the Universe. I was so angry about it, but I should not have been shocked. Three days prior to his passing I had a lucid dream/vision of his passing, the only difference is that it was darkness when it happened, yet the vision was in pure bright light. I asked the great Rev Colin Fry why this was given to me if I couldn't save him. Colin's response was simply one of 'it was given to prepare you'. But we are never prepared, no matter what. Nothing can prepare you for that exact moment when your loved one passes over.
Grief is very selfish, as to be fair, the person we grieve is okay; they are no longer suffering, they are no longer in pain and they have simply returned home to their soul family.
But grief hurts and there are no plasters or magic potion you can take to remove it. You cannot go round it, under it, or over it; you have to go through it.
The pain is unbelievable.
In my humble opinion there are two ways that people grieve. For 18 months some will be in floods of tears and grieve deeply. Others do not have the luxury of doing it that way, as they have to earn, work and be there for others. These people take years to come to terms with their loss.
Every loss is awful, but the big four are either of your parents, your partner, or your child. These are the hardest ones to even begin to accept and some people never do.
Grief is such a personal experience. The worst thing is when someone says 'time is a great healer'. A local Rev to where I live said this to me and I have no doubt that he meant well, but it is the worst thing to say as time does not heal that void that is left within you; what happens is that you learn to live with that void. You come to terms with the fact that it is there.
Grief does change us, because of that void; because we value those we love a little bit more; because we realise that life is not about bluster, ego and greed.
There are no rules to grief, there is no time limit so if you are grieving do not let anyone tell you “It’s been six months now, you should be over it”.
If anyone dares say that, please just walk away.
We all grieve in different ways, but the one bit of advice that Colin gave me was to not make a shrine, simply because when it comes to the shrine being taken down, that can make you feel guilty. And he was right. Mike had no shrine, but his photo of us together did take pride of place.
To anyone going through grief, please remember your loved one the last time you saw them smile; please remember the love, not the pain and know that love and life are eternal.
We all know that time when we are out in public and we feel as if life is going on around us and our life has stood still. This is normal and it is the shock, it will pass.
There will be times that you get the “side swipes”, moments when you think you are okay and something happens and you burst into tears. It’s okay, people will understand; do not try to hide your grief.
Laugh through the tears, think of all the daft things your loved one said or did; they will be watching over you and will want to see you smile again.
Every tear is a testimony to the love you share and you will stop crying, those tears are “in the moment”, but you will stop crying. I never thought I would smile again, but I do; I never thought I would laugh again, but I do.
Do not let anyone tell you how to grieve; it is personal to you as each person is different, no two of us are the same.
Do not let anyone tell you that you have to remove their belongings. You will do that in your own time.
But one thing I will say is that for me, I was in no fit state to make any huge decisions for a good few months. So maybe don’t make any, as for one of the first times in my life I found myself totally vulnerable and I know any decisions made in that time would not necessarily be the right ones.
I found that writing my feelings down helped. I wrote his funeral service and re-read it for months afterwards. It helped. I listened to the songs from the funeral. I wasn’t being morbid but it helped me cry and control when the tears came, as I had to also be clear enough to read for others.
Do what works for you, but also remember that after the funeral, people go back into their everyday lives. Their life has not changed as much as yours has and they will have no idea how upset or how deep the hurt goes unless they have experienced a similar loss. It is in this time that those that say, “Reach out if you need me”. Remember they are still there for you, as lots of people assume that you will and they will leave you alone as they will assume you are okay if you are not reaching out. Reach out for support and an ear to bend. Accept help as those that love and care for you really will wish to help.
For those that are reading this that wish to support a loved one, a friend or someone you know is hurting but you do not wish to push in to a situation, I did receive a message from someone who got it just right. She sent me a message saying “Please do not feel you have to respond to this text; I know you have a lot on but just want you to know that I am here if you need me.”
That instantly took away all pressure for me to respond, as believe me you will not wish to talk to all.
Remember the golden rules:
- There is no time frame to grief
- There are no rules to grief
- Do not let anyone tell you how to grieve
- Get your tears out and allow yourself time to cry
- Bo not be ashamed of your tears
- Be kind to yourself.
- Do not feel you cannot ask for help, as you can.
- Please consider bereavement counselling if you think it will help you.
On a practical level, please ensure that you eat/drink and look after your health.
After Mike's death I found a message on the voice recorder in my phone, one that I did not know he had done. He simply said in it “I love you” and that to this day means so much to me. It had been there for months before I found it but my point here is maybe we should all take a leaf out of his book and leave little messages for our loved ones to cherish.
We each have to wake up each day and put one foot in front of the other and it’s even more important when you are grieving as you need a focus and a purpose. My children helped me hugely through my grief; they were grieving too. My parents helped massively and held my hand, especially those first three weeks. Even now looking back I feel the tears well up, but this again is normal. My point is that with great love there will be great pain, one of you will hurt but to feel that love is worth the pain. My reason for getting out of bed in the mornings was the family that I have. They are my purpose. You just have to find yours.
I hope this blog article, even though things are personal in here and close to my heart, helps you or someone you know.
Shelly - Pin 600333