October 26, 2015

This is the Best Response I’ve ever Heard about How to Process Grief.

Wikimedia Commons

My friend just died. I don’t know what to do.

Not knowing how to deal with grief is a common problem for humanity.

This is the best response I’ve ever heard about how to process grief:

via Reddit/GSnow

“Alright, here goes. I’m old. What that means is that I’ve survived (so far) and a lot of people I’ve known and loved did not. I’ve lost friends, best friends, acquaintances, co-workers, grandparents, mom, relatives, teachers, mentors, students, neighbors and a host of other folks. I have no children, and I can’t imagine the pain it must be to lose a child. But here’s my two cents.

I wish I could say you get used to people dying. I never did. I don’t want to. It tears a hole through me whenever somebody I love dies, no matter the circumstances. But I don’t want it to “not matter.” I don’t want it to be something that just passes. My scars are a testament to the love and the relationship that I had for and with that person. And if the scar is deep, so was the love. So be it. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are a testament that I can love deeply and live deeply and be cut, or even gouged, and that I can heal and continue to live and continue to love. And the scar tissue is stronger than the original flesh ever was. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are only ugly to people who can’t see.

As for grief, you’ll find it comes in waves. When the ship is first wrecked, you’re drowning, with wreckage all around you. Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty and the magnificence of the ship that was, and is no more. And all you can do is float. You find some piece of the wreckage and you hang on for a while. Maybe it’s some physical thing. Maybe it’s a happy memory or a photograph. Maybe it’s a person who is also floating. For a while, all you can do is float. Stay alive.

In the beginning, the waves are 100 feet tall and crash over you without mercy. They come 10 seconds apart and don’t even give you time to catch your breath. All you can do is hang on and float. After a while, maybe weeks, maybe months, you’ll find the waves are still 100 feet tall, but they come further apart. When they come, they still crash all over you and wipe you out. But in between, you can breathe, you can function. You never know what’s going to trigger the grief. It might be a song, a picture, a street intersection, the smell of a cup of coffee. It can be just about anything and the wave comes crashing. But in between waves, there is life.

Somewhere down the line, and it’s different for everybody, you find that the waves are only 80 feet tall. Or 50 feet tall. And while they still come, they come further apart. You can see them coming. An anniversary, a birthday, or Christmas or landing at O’Hare. You can see it coming, for the most part, and prepare yourself. And when it washes over you, you know that somehow you will, again, come out the other side. Soaking wet, sputtering, still hanging on to some tiny piece of the wreckage, but you’ll come out.

Take it from an old guy. The waves never stop coming, and somehow you don’t really want them to. But you learn that you’ll survive them. And other waves will come. And you’ll survive them too. If you’re lucky, you’ll have lots of scars from lots of loves. And lots of shipwrecks.”




Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock

Photo: wikicommons

Relephant Content:

Relephant Bonus:

Letting go of a Loved One.

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Susan Stack Jul 13, 2019 12:30pm

oh my gosh this is so true. thank you for writing this

johntnixon May 8, 2019 5:28pm

I lost my wife of 56 years to ALS 18 months ago. She was a very sweet and everybody loved her. She died when I was in the same room and I blamed myself for not realizing
what was happening. In fact I had emailed our daughters and told them that she was moving into a vegetative state.
The shock and depression was almost overwhelming. I don’t remember the funeral very well. As things progressed I found that my determination to live my life to honour her the easier it was to control the grief. This is not about me it’s about our life, our daughters and our grand children.

kyasick May 7, 2019 8:56pm

I lost both of my parents when I was in my 30s. The grief I experienced after the death of my mother felt insurmountable. When my husband died in December of 2010, I though I would collapse into grief for years to come. It did not play out that way for some reason. I think because the experience of grief and survival without someone had already happened, I know I could continue living, even if I was devastated. My son has the disease that took my husband and will more than likely predecease me. I’m scared to death, quite literally, that I won’t be able to survive such loss. Only God knows. I try to imagine myself being a survivor because so far, I’ve survived. Time will tell.

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Ashleigh Hitchcock

Ashleigh Hitchcock is a simple girl with a complicated life. She has many jobs and 1000 hobbies; to stay sane, she practices meditation and yoga. Ashleigh’s greatest treasures are her friends, loved ones, and pets. When Ashleigh wants to cheer herself up, she smiles at strangers until she finds a really good one. Catch up with Ashleigh on Facebook and Instagram.