grieving with a friend... without grieving *with* them
Sometimes I find it especially challenging to write while I'm in the midst of a trial. I always want to wait until I'm on the other side of the pain, so I can share the "it gets better" bit. Because truly, it does. And it will this time too. I may not be there yet, but here's a little of what I'm learning in the process.
Within the span of 72 hours, a family I love deeply lost their father and their beloved dog.
In the midst of my celebration for the launch of this website I found a nagging emptiness at the bottom of my sternum. I couldn't quite place it at first, internalizing and thinking maybe it meant I wasn't supposed to start this business after all.
Isn't it just like us to immediately make something about us? Upon some refection I realized that this wasn't about me (at ALL). This was about feeling the grief and sadness with my friend. If you've ever been in this situation, you are familiar with catching a case of 'wannafixitall.' (Yes, I did just make that up and yes . . .I love Dad jokes).
You go immediately to: What can I do to help?? Bring food? You want tacos? You want another dog? Tissues? Let's go shopping. Margs? .... and on. and on.
As tempting as it is to follow those urges, it's actually stems from a place of ego (harsh I know). Think about the last time you were in grieving. If you were asked the above, you were likely thinking "I just need to cry . . . The last thing on my mind is food or shopping." At least for a little while, right? And when you were ready, you'd give your besties a call and you'd go to your favorite local coffee shop or out for Mexican food. But only when you're ready.
We have to let people grieve in their own way, and in their own time. You can grieve with someone....without grieving with them.
Cry for them. Pray desperate, snot-the-rug, prayers for them. Let them know you're here.
But don't try to fix it. You can't . . .one of the most difficult truths we will ever have to learn is that we do not hold the power to "fix" others' and their emotions.
When they're ready, I'm happy to jump into action and do whatever will make her feel better. But for now, I have to practice self-LESS-ness and remember that this isn't about me. For now, all I can do is pray & let her know I'm here, and she is loved.