Well, the holiday season is almost over. I had a profound experience the other day. In awe, I realized that while I missed Dick so much, a sort of serene joy temporarily replaced the longing I have felt for so long. I want to summon that feeling at will, And I worry I will 'lose' him that way. Something is shifting in me, leaving me feeling
wary of changing emotions.
Speaking of change, let's shift to the subject of this segment.
Who has not said something awkward to a person in grief, and immediately wished the words could be unsaid?
After our dear friends lost their seven-year-old Johnny to Cystic Fibrosis, I thought it would be comforting to say, "At least you still have Billy and Susie." My friend stood up and with fire in her eyes let me know how she felt about my comment. "I want three kids just like you have!" I cringe at the memory all these years later.
Is there anything worse than avoiding eye contact and saying nothing? I've done that, also. A neighbor died suddenly. A few days later, I saw his wife in the grocery story. Not sure if she had seen me and hoping she had not, I turned away, thinking, "I wish I knew what to say." I had no clue.
While I created this site for the benefit of people who grieve, a wise man pointed out the advantage to any readers who wish to increase their knowledge of the grief process. They could be expected to learn more about what to say to a person suffering loss, especially in the early days after the death.
I have demonstrated what not to say. Obviously.
It wasn't helpful to me when people asked me how I was doing since I could never figure out how to answer that without crying.
Probably the most useful comments were not comments at all. A firefighter/relative showed up at my door with a bouquet. After I accepted and thanked him for the flowers, he sat down and indicated I should sit by him. He took my hands and just looked at me. I immediately began talking . . . and talking . . . and talking. He said very little. His eyes did not leave my face. He LISTENED to me.