Good, you're over it now
The statement "good, you're over it now" makes me MAD.
This week I was chatting with a person who recently had a death in their family. Amidst obvious crying and brief pauses to catch his breath, he began to share of his journey; the good, the bad, the crazy, the pain and yes, at times joy and laughter.
Albeit only a few months ago that he experienced the loss, he spoke of some of the comments he is now receiving when arriving at social gatherings or even work. It is seemingly as though people are relieved that he is ‘normal’ or ‘ok again’.
He said to me “Steve I went to a social event just recently. I spent most of the day building myself up to emotionally survive an hour or two at the event. I dressed well and wore the best ‘fake’ smile I could – but all this seemed to do was appease people’s belief that I am in fact ‘over it’.”
He continued on, “Steve I’m barely making it out of bed in the morning, I hurt all the time, deep down in my physical being is an ache I never knew even existed.”
I reassured as best I could that he was indeed doing an amazing job at getting through each day. I cheered him on for the strength and tenacity he showed by simply attending a social event.
1. Recognise that most people do not understand grief, and they certainly do not understand your personal grief.
2. Try to enjoy the function anyway and see it as a great success to simply attend.
3. Prepare a response before you go. You may want to say: “actually this is a fake smile and I’m not over anything.” Or, “thank you, I feel great.” Or, just walk away and say nothing. My point here is that there is no right response, but there is a right response for you.
4. Stay for as long as you feel comfortable with.
The reality is we don’t get over grief, we learn to navigate life with it. There is no right amount of time to grieve, no right amount of time to stay home or go out or stop crying or stop laughing, everyone is different and that’s ok.
Let’s be people who are gracious with our comments, understanding with our tone and empathetic with our actions.
By Steve Morrison