Want to know how to end someone else’s grieving?
It is NEVER your responsibility to tell a person how or when or to what extent he/she should grieve. Grieving is a journey. It’s something that can begin at illness, moments before a person dies, at the funeral services or even years after a person dies. It’s something that exists inside you infinitely. It changes the way you look at the sun and the trees and a quiet road as you are driving. It changes how silence feels, how music sounds, and how sadness creeps in unexpectedly. It can bring you a sense of security one day, rapes you of all that makes you feel stable the next. It makes memories hurt and new places feel familiar. It makes you realize how little time we had and how much time we still have left missing someone.
But the thing about it is — it is yours. It is owned by nobody but you. So when someone says “It’s been so long, you need to find peace” or “This person wasn’t such a great person anyway” it doesn’t end the grieving; it likely just makes you feel less loved by the person telling you this. Grieving doesn’t have a timeline or an endpoint or an expiration date. It isn’t reserved for only the most honorable people. It isn’t forgotten or misplaced or overlooked or irrelevant. It doesn’t just heal. It’s a wound. It’s pain and the absence of all feeling. It’s draining, it’s numbing, and it can be very cruel at times.
So if you know a person who is grieving and you actually want to help? Here’s an idea. If you’ve experienced this pain before, just say “I understand” because when I’m having my hardest times, I turn to people who I know have had similar experiences. The desire to hold on to another week, another memory, another shared moment with a loved one. To do that *one thing* just *one more time*. And to know someone else wishes for the same, that can be very comforting. Grieving is about the unique, special relationship you shared with another human being. Something nobody else can or will ever experience. This relationship can no longer grow, but exists inside you. Give it its own space to live eternally.
I purchased three orchid plants the first week of November last year for my dad’s service: one for my mom, one for my sister, and one for me. The flowers died within days, but I watered it, gave it enough sun, moved it from South Florida to North-Central Florida, and this week, it bloomed again for the first time. I took good care of it.
I always did.