Grief seems to be felt and experienced by different people in different ways. Even when someone loses their loved ones, there seems to be a difference! Realizing it, made me realize a lot more about myself and how I process the same!
Lost a loved one mindset
Many miss the loved one and want to see them for the last time in their lives and flock to have a glimpse before their last rites. Remembering the good and bad times spent with them, their lives, special moments, fun, looking at old pictures, crying with a heavy heart, realizing that life moves on, consoling the family members to remain strong are common. Some families create a meal train and take turns to bring food over for the next few days while families are grieving.
We would never get to see them again!
Focus on surviving family mindset
People who have gone through a similar experience of losing a loved one, and who have personally got themselves out of the tight spots life might have put them through, feel grief towards the surviving family. While they miss the one who has passed away, their thoughts and actions would be towards the family who would be looking to pull their lives back together! They talk and share their experiences and try to be there for the family from a financial aid, children education, last rites expenses, operational duties that revolve around the same. They typically focus on what-next and try to be the moral support for the surviving family.
How will the family survive the loss!
If I do not need to deal with this truth at this point of time, and if it helps me remain strong, I will do that. Some survivors and their family members go through this mindset to exhibit strength, as there may be many who need someone to lean on during hard times. Every family somehow would have someone who turns out to be the strong one during these times. Checking on the strong-ones on how they are feeling in essence and letting them express their grief (even if it in isolation) is needed! One can have a strong exterior for everyone, but might need at least one person with whom they need to have the outlet to breakdown (even if it is momentary). At least writing their feeling out (no need to share with anyone), gets them to express it out and move on.
I need to be strong for others!
I do not understand what has hit me, however there are people around me who keep wanting me to perform the last rites, go through a set of processes and mechanically go about the same. There is no time to sit and reflect what has occurred. No time to realize what is actually happening. They are in motion and continue to keep themselves busy with the ongoing never-ending list of to-dos, both during the last rites and get busy with their daily routines thereafter. Typically children go through this, kids who have lost their loved ones and need to go through the processes do so without the fundamental realization. The need to be strong and mature is thrust upon them so suddenly that this is taken as a way of life going forward.
Get busy doing what needs to be done!
Some friends try to be there for the ones who have lost their loved ones. Some friends do not find words or ways/means to console their friends and refrain from being friends. As friends grieve and talk and come out of it, not everyone has it in them (with whatever they are going through in their own lives) to be able to be there for the friend who has lost someone. Some friends find it hard to express and talk to someone who has lost someone close. What happened and how would be a good opening sentence. Go with a mindset to listen when you are trying to console someone. They are not looking for advice during their grieving period, they are just looking for an avenue to open up and grieve. Give them the space.
How can I help!
When I lost a loved one, felt this quote from Eric Segal’s Love Story summarizes the feeling perfectly!
Death ends a life and not a relationship, that struggles on in the survivor’s mind towards some resolution it may never find!
What I have come to realize over years is that –
- Crying is important in grieving the loss of a loved one! If we hold our emotions back, we will end up facing a lot of physical and mental health challenges over years!
- Why did it happen? Why me? Basically the Why never has an answer and makes us keep going in circles!
- The size of the vacuum created slowly reduces over years, with pleasant memories with them and from other facets of life filling the place more!
- The ones most impacted are the ones who undergo the most transformation and come out stronger!