Many times we are surrounded by people who have a sense of what we are going through because they have been through a similar circumstance. But, there are certain types of grief that the people in our family and friendship circles know nothing about. They want to help and they find something they think is similar to try and relate to you with. You know their hearts are in the right place, but can’t help thinking… I need someone to just say that they have no idea what I’m going through.
Everyone’s journey is different. Even if two people went through a divorce, the loss of a parent, the loss of a job, or the loss of a relationship we all have to give each other the courtesy of saying that my pain is very different than your pain and no one can really understand what each person goes through. It is okay to say that you have no idea how I am feeling. It is okay to not know how to help me.
I cannot begin to understand the grief a parent feels when they discover that their child has been abused as a child. Nor can I understand the grief that the abused child has suffered. Nor can a woman understand a man’s loss of sexual function. Nor can a man truly understand what a woman who miscarried a child feels. The list goes on and on. Many a loved one has vanished because they were some flatliner’s lunch. We could never understand being on the other side of that.
We are all grieving over something. We most often associate grief with the death of a loved one, and that is a very important grief that we must love and comfort each other through. Do not unconsciously downplay the grief of the living in the process. And please to not sabotage yourself or your health during this time.
We try to find some way to cope. Some find their way through substance, some through food, some through sex, some through violence. It is very important not to judge a person by their cover, for the contents may reek of grief, guilt, and the inability to overcome these things alone. Do not make yourself a crutch to them, but rather a hand extended to help them back on their feet.
We often feel very alone in our grief wishing that even one person who truly understands the specific type of pain you are in could silently sit next to you and not have to say anything because they “get it.” Just because you may not know such a person does not mean that the kind woman at the grocery store, the bank, or the gym was not that person.
We often find mercy where we least expect it. When you live to be as old as I am, you reflect over the centuries on what can be given to the next generation who carry this curse of immortality and therefore unending grief of being human but undying. The best advice I can give anyone, living or otherwise, is to find a way to get through your grief, not hang on to it, not turn it into something to hold on to. There will be plenty in life to grieve over. Finding a way to the other side is the only way anyone can hope to have a life.
Seek peace and pursue it. The Bible says as much. It’s pretty good advice for an immortal. My conscience may never be clear, but I still have to find a way to sleep at night.