How many times have the bereaved heard “They should be over it by now?” or parents who have had a miscarriage or lost a baby have heard the words “It wasn’t meant to be…” or “You can try again.” Empty words without meaning, and without any kind of acknowledgement of their loss. Where has the empathy and understanding gone? What about compassion?
Everyone is different, therefore they grieve differently, but people have expectations that we all should grieve the same way and that by a certain time frame, the bereaved should be “over it”.
First of all, you don’t “get over it”. You learn to live with it, find coping mechanisms, get up every morning and put one foot in front of the other and get through the day. Then the next day, and the next and the next.
Those of us who have children – they come first because, quite simply, they need us. They need us to be strong, reassuring, stable and there for them, because by “kid” logic, if one adult or child can die, then what is stopping the rest of their family or friends from doing the same?
If you’re very lucky, you have family and friends who let you talk, let you cry and don’t shy away from the subject of death. If you are even luckier (and privileged), you have the support of organisations who do so much for a select group of people – the terminally ill and their families.
There are Bereavement Groups that meet once a month, where people affected by the death of a loved one can come together and talk freely in a relaxed atmosphere and know that there is no judgement, there is complete understanding and so much love.
Death is as much a part of life as living, and grief is an ongoing process with each, individual making their own, unique journey through the pain and loss. Grief comes in all shapes and sizes. It comes in waves. It ebbs and flows. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. There is no time limit. It is what it is – mourning the loss of a loved one who was a significant part of your life.
My partner passed away two years ago and he is in my thoughts everyday. My daughters and my own memories keep him alive, both in our hearts and minds. I see him in my daughters smile and laugh. It breaks my heart when she cries and tells me, she “misses Daddy”. I mourn all over again when my daughter goes through milestones – all the firsts – first day of school, her first School Achievement Certificate, Sports Day, Cross Country, birthdays, removing the training wheels from her bicycle and watching her ride without them for the first time. The list goes on.
Then, there are the future events that her Dad will never see – graduating from Primary to High School, her first day at and graduation from High School, driving lessons, her Sweet 16 and 21st Birthdays, the fun Dads like to have with their daughter’s first date, and if she is so inclined, having her Dad walk her down the aisle on her Wedding Day and meeting his grandchildren. All major life events – with an important and significant person from missing her life.
So, why am I writing this essay? I recently heard someone say that ‘they should be over it by now.’ – referring to my daughter and I. I have to say that this hurt, physically, emotionally – it just hurt. When I got home, I cried because I needed to, but when I stopped crying I thought long and hard about it.
The person who said this is ignorant. They have never been through a loss of a close relative or loved one and so, has never experienced grief, real grief. And then, I truly felt sorry for them, because when it does happen, it will hit them like a freight train. Then, and only then, will that person truly understand what it is like to grieve, to mourn the loss of a loved one – a significant and irreplaceable person in their lives.
My only wish for them is that they have the support, the understanding and compassion from their family and friends that my daughter and I were lucky to have had in our time of mourning and need.
Posted by chezj, 19th May 2013