What you can't possibly know... until it's too late
Grief it is such a personal experience, the route that you take. What calms one, irritates another. What causes one heartache, provides another comfort.
Grief is personal, but this is what I have learned as I have followed my path.
- Talk. Talk often. Talk always. Just.Talk.
Last weekend as we were perusing a classic car show, I made sure to point out certain cars *cough-MOPAR-cough* to TT. I mentioned that his grandpa had a car like that... (except it was red, it was newer/older... whatever). The purpose was to share a memory of my dad with TT. Give him an experience to associate with my dad, no he (my dad) wasn't there but he wasn't not there (make sense?).
- Cry. Allow yourself to cry.
Often we feel that crying is a sign of weakness, as something that we need to hide (especially when you have an ugly non-movie-star cry [a la moi]). For months after my dad's passing my eyelids were bruised from crying (I shit you not, bruised... trust me, there was a whole lotta ugly sobbing going on). I still cry when I talk about him (it will be 5yrs, end of January) and I try to view that as the depth of my love. I loved him so darn much, and thinking about everything that he's missing out on... well, it makes me cry (for the record I have big ol' tears trickling down my cheeks).
- Grieve as you need to grieve and respect that others may need to grieve differently.
Some people become quiet & go into themselves... others are may need to wear their heart on their sleeve. Some people need everyone to rally around them... others need to be left alone. There is no right way to grieve... you just have to respect how that person needs to grieve.
- You will be trucking along - and it will hit you. You aren't over it!
A year passes... two... marriage, children... life goes on. But something, something will happen and it will bring you back to that day. That's okay! Look for triggers (for me, it's spring & fall... when the equipment comes out for seeding/harvest, my heart breaks all over again), and try to turn it into a positive... think about all the wonderful memories that you had.
- Realize that whether you have been there (or not), you do not know how someone else is feeling. Be empathetic and understanding but don't be trite. I know it's hard on both sides, you don't know what to say and sometimes there is no right thing to say (everything hurts). The best piece of advice that I can share - "I am so sorry for your loss, is there anything that I can do". That's it. That is all you have to say... if you have a special memory that you wish to share, do so but don't feel like you.must.say.something else.
- When someone is going through a personal loss, it really is all about them (at least to them) so please, don't compare your struggles with the loss of a parent/partner/child.
I still have bad days. A song will come on... TT will ask me "where your dad, mom?"... I'll look at my beautiful boys and will be sad at the awesomeness that he is missing... and the tears will start.
That's my normal... you don't love someone that much & just stop missing them.