There is this whole world so many people do not know about. A whole existence, a whole way of life.
And it’s called grief.
The hardest thing about this existence is there is no way to know what it’s like unless you know what it’s like.
There’s no “My hamster died, I know what it’s like.”
There’s no “We broke up, I know what it’s like.”
There’s no “I moved away from all my friends, I know what it’s like.”
Because there is nothing LIKE it.
And what may be hard for the friends, family, coworkers, acquaintances of grieving people is admitting you can’t know what it’s like unless you know what it’s like.
Understanding there’s just no reading up or studying you can do on it.
Realizing you’ve either experienced death of a loved one or you’ve not.
And that there’s not much in between.
(Dare I say nothing in between?)
It’s black and white.
You either know the grief of losing someone or you don’t.
And with that knowledge, knowing how unusual and hard and unlike-anything-else grief is– I have compassion for the people who just don’t get it. Who say dumb things. Who don’t check up on me. Who don’t ask about BJ. Who avoid me. Who don’t know what to do/say/think of me. I get it. It’s weird. And people have no idea what it’s like to lose a spouse. How could they?
I get it. Though still I think we need to work harder and do better at supporting grieving people, I get it.
And though I get it, it’s a lonely path.
It’s like I’m sitting in a restaurant by myself as everyone else sits across from their boyfriends and spouses and friends and children and parents laughing, eating, celebrating, while I’m just sitting there alone.
Grief, party of 1.
And in the restaurant, everyone is confused by me as I sit there alone. No one gets it. They look strangely at me as I frown or sob or stare blankly or smile or reminisce or laugh hysterically or violently stab my food.
It’s a weird life to live– the life of a grieving person.
To be grieving is to constantly feel like a crazy person.
To be grieving is to lose control.
To be grieving is to be triggered by the most random of things.
To be grieving is to feel misunderstood and un-known.
(On top of the loss you’ve already experienced.)
Grieving is hard. Lonely. And not tidy.
And I think the only thing you can do to help a grieving person is to GET that. To get you don’t know what it’s like. To get that they need extra extra extra doses of grace on them. To get that they need love and support even if it’s messy.
To step back and say WOAH I don’t know what that’s like.
To step in and say I’m going to love you while you’re hurting.
At least that’s how it is for me.
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