Do you feel like no one understands your pain? Does it seem that people are avoiding you?
Right after I lost mom, the next time I went back to school I felt like I stepped onto a new planet. Old friends whispered when I walked by. People I did not even know stared at me. My normal teachers looked at me sadly and said, “I’m so sorry.” People all want the magic words that will help each of us feel better, but what if when we are grieving, we do not really need words…what if instead we just need presence. We need the friend who stands by and says, “yup this sucks” and stairs at the fire that just took our home. We need the brother who holds us as we cry. We need the pastor that allows us to tell God about our anger.
A friend that was suffering during loss once told me, “it is what it is…” I cringed. It is my nature to change what it is and make lemonade out of lemons. With all my being I wanted to tell her she could change it! But I found it was not my place to take away this acceptance from her. She was right after all…
We all need the freedom to be where we are in our grief. To accept that we are angry or relieved or full of sorrow. It is through this acceptance of our experience that we will be able to move forward into a place of healing.
Friend, as much as I want to take your pain away my words are not what heals. We each must travel our own road to healing in a loss. Our emotions after a loss will be as varied as the differences we have. Allowing yourself to "be where you are" will take finding ways to deal with the well-meaning people around you.
Here are 4 statements you can say to well-meaning people when you just need to “be where you are.”
I am ________ (insert your feeling) right now, I hope tomorrow I will be ____________. Thanks for asking.
I am sorry I cannot deal with _________ right now, maybe next month.
I am not ready to engage about this, when I am, I will let you know.
Please just sit with me.
It is only when we find peace with where we are in a loss that suddenly we are ready to deal with our emotions head-on. Find a friend that is good at just letting you be and listens.
A good gauge for when to seek help:
1. You have been feeling your emotions for 6 months or more…
2. You find these emotions are now disrupting your life instead of helping you survive…
3. It has been a while and you have not found a way to calm these intense emotions…
4. Your trustworthy friends are worried…
...Then it may be time to seek help from a trusted friend, counselor, or spiritual advisor.
What would help you to feel understood or “be where you are” by friends or family?
Part 5 on Navigating Loss
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