I had the honor recently to be nominated as one of the Nurse’s to appear in my company’s website for Nurse’s week. The Supervisor that nominated me had also mentioned that I write a grief blog.
I was interviewed for the article and asked a few questions on writing about grief. It has not been overlooked by me that grief and the effects of loss within a family are difficult subjects to write and certainly talk about. Any unpleasant subjects cause most to get uncomfortable, turn the page or want to talk about something else. Who could blame them?
I write about my personal experience with grief from my own perspective. I write about learning to live without Konnor and how painful that is. How I at times, continue to struggle with the effects of this loss. Yet, I have also learned that the subject of grief and death is uncomfortable to the general population. People do not know how to react to those of us grieving. Most have a preconceived belief that grief has time limits. Those that haven’t seen you in a while even “forget” that your loved one has died. Yes, hard to imagine but they do forget.
You cannot engage in conversation about grief without talking about death. I have figured out that most will avoid those that grieve because of death. It is as if speaking to a griever about their loss is equivalent to being near a person with a contagious disease. It is taboo. Will they become jinxed and suffer a death within their own family? It causes them to question their own mortality. People prefer to ignore all thoughts of death or dying until it creeps up and slaps them in the face.
Grievers struggle to live side by side with non-grievers. We struggle for understanding. Specifically from those of extended family and close friends who do not grasp what we continue to live with day-to-day and what we need from those around us.
We really just want to be seen and we just want to be heard. Even after time has passed. After the funeral is over, long after you walked away, we have basically stood still in our grief.
It simply boils down to basic needs. As grievers we have the same needs as everyone else. We just need a little more attention. But we won’t ask for anything from anyone. Remember, we are the walking wounded. Just because you cannot see our wounds does not mean they are not there. We still hurt, we feel alone, forgotten. We need you to look a little closer, try a little harder so we know we are not forgotten.
I feel very much alone in my grief over Konnor. I always have. The weight of it can leave me feeling heavy, tired. I think about him all the time. With the exception of my immediate family it is hard to find understanding of what I am feeling emotionally. We need to bring grief out of the dark and into the light where it makes more sense. Think about your senses. What we need is within these senses. It really isn’t all that hard when you think about it.
Look at me. See me? Do I appear distant? Looking off into space? This is probably when I am thinking about Konnor and missing him the most. Look me in the eyes and simply smile at me. Make a connection. It could make my day. No words needed.
Listen to me. If I start to talk to you, even if it’s not at the right time, can you give me a minute? Maybe I need that moment. I spend a lot of time alone, when words spill out of me take advantage of it.
Speak to me. Say his name. Maybe once in a while just hearing you say his name lets me know you remember him too. You have no idea the impact this has on me.
Touch me. Reach out. Every now and then a touch on my arm or shoulder or even a hug is what I need to keep going. I may act like I don’t need it but I do.
Grief is an uncomfortable subject. Death and dying is a scary thing to everyone. In my career I have worked with many physicians who could not have conversations with family members about hospice when it was an appropriate step in medical care. Society as a whole is not comfortable with death. We do not know how to prepare for it and we do not know how to cope with the effects of its aftermath.
We either act as if nothing has happened, void of emotion or we stuff everything we feel inside and hide it because grief is not understood or accepted in public. We have our three days off work to grieve and attend our funeral services and then we go back to work and everything and everybody is normal?? What happened to being in mourning? Why isn’t it appropriate to talk about the grief and pain when a loved one has passed? I am at a loss, I just cannot understand.
I write a grief blog. I write what I feel. My hope is that I continue to reach others who are grieving and that they continue to say, “I feel that same way.” The more we acknowledge grievers letting them know that support is available to them, that you are aware they still grieve, the less alone they will feel. It makes a huge difference to us when compassion fills that empty space grief has left behind.