For Tuesday, November 8, 2011
When one experiences a loss, people come together to support one another through the difficult time. Bereavement days are taken so that the family can gather and participate in the standard occasions of memorials or other means of closure which take place over a week or so. Of course grief will often surpass a wake, funeral, or memorial service but as family and friends return to their day-to-day lives, people are aware of the loss and speak and act appropriately. But how does one cope with an ongoing grief, long after everyone has returned to their regular lives? I’ve often heard of the expression, “to wallow in one’s grief”. But what exactly is the definition of wallowing? Is it defined by an amount of time, by the measurement of tears, by what one displays of their grief in public or in private?
I know I do not have many answers on the subject, but I do know that I have learned a great deal about this subject in recent years. For one thing, I know that grief is ongoing. It ebbs and flows. There are good days and bad days. There are times when the world is dark and there are days when the blessings we have around us bring to our eyes tears of joy and appreciation. And there are those who know of our internal conflict and those who do not. We fight with the voices in our heads--the ones that dare us to lose ourselves in sorrow and the ones that tell us to soak in and to appreciate the time we have on this earth. “Live for today. Make good memories now. Time is short”.
I also know that grief is uniquely personal. There are those who grieve who cry every day for months and there are those who grieve who smile and put on happy faces and making pleasant conversation, who go on with their daily routines but who are somehow wiser now. There are those who find comfort by writing to a friend and those who turn to prayer. And then maybe, there are those like me. I seem to be trying a little of everything. I cry. I smile. I pretend. I write. I sing and dance. I hold my loved ones a little tighter. And Lord knows, I think way too much. I admit to needing some help. I’m just trying to figure out how to make things feel right again.