I’ve had several broken bones in my 54 years of life, and most of them, one could recognize with the naked eye. I had a cast, or tape on my nose, etc. But when I recently developed severe osteoporosis, and suffered with several broken vertebrae, it wasn’t an injury that was immediately seen or identified by others. I was in excruciating pain, but the evidence of the cause wasn’t obvious. Grief is much the same, being a constant reminder of the injury we’ve suffered. The difference between a broken bone and grief is that grief is not something we can “fix!” It’s something we will bear the weight of till we ourselves leave this earth.
Our sphere of family and friends often don’t understand this idea that grief is not something we can fix and forget. Oh, that we could erase the knowledge of our person being gone; but barring a horrible mind disease, like dementia, we will forever be aware of their absence. Those around us may witness us getting back to “normal” in some ways, like going back to work or church, but the hidden truth is that grief is ever present. Often, we don’t get it, till it happens to us!
As far as “fixing” grief, I don’t believe it is possible, do you? I believe our journey is one of slow healing, moment by moment, hour by hour. The rate at which the wound scars is purely individual—all of our journeys are different. We are grieving so many losses at once…not just the loss of a life, of that person being absent from our day by day lives, but also all the complicated fingers that extend from grief: not being able to say goodbye, guilt if there was an argument, feeling like we should have been able to help them, mourning the life they could have had, and so on.
Healing, though, doesn’t mean we forget about the person. It means we figure out a way to live in the world without them, finding a way to honor and love them in their absence. So, let’s take lessons from our own experiences, and not hold impossible expectations of those who are sorrowful, but sit with them in their darkness, and not try to explain away the “whys.” This article lends some extra help in this area of feeling the need to “fix” grief.
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