How to Deal with Grief - by spryte
Grief is an overwhelming emotion for most people. Actually, I'd like to meet the few that haven't been swallowed up by it at some point in their lives...either they are very lucky...or God is planning something really big.
I think I'm pretty average when it comes to the amount of grief I've had to deal with...there have been some really bad times...and then not so bad times. Of course the good times are always the ones that are remembered...and I have a lot of those. How I've dealt with this grief though I think is different from a lot of people. Well, different enough that I hope by sharing it...it might make somebody else's grief a little more bearable.
We've all heard that grief comes in five stages...denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance. I say...that's crap. Let's face it, when dear ol' Rover is laying out flat with tread marks across his fur...denial is going to be a really hard thing to maintain.
Sorry...I promised myself I'd be serious writing this...and already I stray into my usual morbid sense of humor.
I'm not sure how many examples I'm going to produce...I'm shooting from the hip at the moment. So let's just start and see how many we end up with...
Spryte's Suggestions for Grieving
- Cry - You may be a quiet tear or two type, a melodramatic sobber, or the heartbreaking mourner with tears that rip the soul apart. It doesn't matter...it just matter that you do. If you feel you make others uncomfortable with your tears...find a place to do it alone. Tears do not need an audience to be effective.
- Remember - all of it. Live it every day so it doesn't have a chance to heal over too quickly and fester. Humans have a tendency to shy away from things that are painful. We don't want to think about it, talk about it...or perhaps we are expected to be the "strong one" during the time of crisis. But the only way past grief is to breathe it in, let it take up residence in the guest room for a while. It hurts...and for those of you who've been there...you know the type of hurt I'm talking about. It'll help you with the crying part too. You'll do a lot of that at first.
- Laugh - it's okay to laugh, y'know? Nobody will think it's sacrilegious for you to have found momentary joy. They may want you to share what made you laugh...or they may be slightly uneasy if it's a deranged laugh, so try to avoid that type of laugh if you can. Think of it this way...we know that a day is never idealistically picture perfect, right? There's usually at least one small thing that goes wrong and upsets us. So how can we expect that any day could be 100% miserable? Besides...it will make you feel good.
- Do something nice - I know this sounds a little strange...after all YOU are suffering here, the rest of the world can just get out of your face. Trust me on this one. One of the things I did when I lost my son a week before Christmas, was bake cookies and deliver them to the hospital staff that had been there that night. I had every right to sit at home and wallow in my misery. Nobody would have denied me that. But that staff really did take such good care of us...and I wanted them to know that. Yeah...they thought I was a bit daft at first, but the cookies and conversation were enjoyed by all of us. It made me feel good...not necessarily about myself or what I'd done...but good because it forced me think outside myself.
- Run Away - but not for a long period of time. There comes a time when you will be exhausted by all the people you've had to comfort as they offered condolences. How are you supposed to grieve when you are too busy taking care of other people and soothing their feelings? Hmm? That's when it's time to pack up and head to a place where nobody knows you. You don't have to do this alone...but I find it's better if you only invite other people that are grieving at the same level as yourself. Go to the beach...watch the sun rise. Watch it set. Understand this means that life goes on and no matter what you've lost, it's your bittersweet luck to be the one to have to move on. Don't be afraid to laugh and cry...maybe at the same time...these people don't know you and chances are you'll never see them again. They may avoid you...pull their children closer to them as they make a wide arc to avoid you...but who cares?
- Dispose of everything but what is meaningful - And by this I only mean when you are ready. Pick a few things that have special memories tied to them and keep them. Have a friend either sell or dispose of the rest. Trust me on this...you do NOT want to do it yourself. You will only hate the people that buy your stuff...and that's a bit counterproductive. If what you've saved is an item that might still be useful to somebody else...give it away gradually. Find a person that you think worthy of such a gift...and then tell them why it's important to you. There's no expiration date on this...I still have "things" that I haven't given away yet.
- Write - It doesn't have to be a best-selling novel. It doesn't' have to be spellchecked for errors. Writing is simply a way of expressing yourself and a lot of the time it has a natural cathartic side effect.
- Do not even think about using a chemical crutch - It hurts...suck it up. It's going to hurt worse when you come out of an alcoholic stupor. It hasn't gone away just because you discovered Prozac. If you think that you can escape into a nice little fuzzy warm cocoon....you can. But eventually you have to come out...or let your grief destroy you. Which leads to my last one...
- Get angry - It's a clean emotion that sometimes can kick start a person into action. Just make sure you don't get angry all over somebody's face...use a pillow or something with a little give. Yell, scream...whatever you want. I find screaming in the middle of a traffic jam with my windows rolled up to be very effective. Nobody even looks twice...they figure it's just PMS induced road rage and move over a couple of lanes.
Anyway...I hope these spritely suggestions are taken in the spirit given. But if not, then perhaps a small chuckle or groan of dismay? I'm a terrible advice giver...lol!