It’s odd, isn’t it? People die every day and the world goes on like nothing happened. But when it’s a person you love, you think everyone should stop and take notice. That they ought to cry and light candles and tell you that you’re not alone.
This is a thing many people outside your grief cannot understand: that you have not simply lost one person, at one point in time. You have lost their presence in every aspect of your life. Your future has changed as well as your “now”.
it’s a curious thing, the death of a loved one … It’s like walking up the stairs to your bedroom in the dark, and thinking there is one more stair than there is. Your foot falls down, through the air, and there is a sickly moment of dark surprise 💫
When someone you love dies, people ask you how you’re doing, but they don’t really want to know. They seek affirmation that you’re okay, that you appreciate their concern, that life goes on and so can they. Secretly they wonder when the statute of limitations on asking expires (its three months, by the way. Written or unwritten, that’s about all the time it takes for people to forget the one thing that you never will).
Relearning the world after someone we love has died is not a matter of taking in information or mastering ideas or theories. It is, rather, a matter of learning again how to be and act in the world without those we love by our sides.
If you know someone who has…lost anybody who’s important to them, and you’re afraid to mention them because you think you might make them sad by reminding them that they died, they didn’t forget they died. You’re not reminding them. What you’re reminding them of is that you remember that they lived, and that’s a great, great gift.
The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing… not healing, not curing… that is a friend who cares.
No, the end of a world is much more sudden, more subtle, more depressing. It happens when someone you are used to seeing and hearing is no longer in sight, no longer heard. It happens when you lose someone that made life more colorful and more vital.
Any loss is hard. Any loss can have a complicated recovery.
Human beings like order. When tragedy happens, we look for someone to blame. We want answers. And we want loss to fit into a box that is neatly labelled with the appropriate response. Too often, this isn’t possible.
I see what grief does, how it strips you bare, shows you all the things you don’t want to know. That loss doesn’t end, that there isn’t a moment where you are done, when you can neatly put it away and move on.