Grief. Good Grief is more like it. Insert eyeroll.
It's 2023 and my soulmate left this earth in 2019. It's been a little over 4 years since he left and I can honestly say I have heard a lot of things that are not productive or helpful from people that do really try to help. Tanner was an amazing soul filled human, he was a man of honor and loyalty. He was honest, loving and the most giving man I have ever met.
Since he died, I have been working my way through different ways of healing. Grief is like the Ocean...there are waves, stillness, storms and so much more. Things can be triggering, it can be anxiety inducing along with feeling just sad. There are so many ways to grieve, it's personal. I have noticed within my journey that we, as a society, just don't know how to actually help someone in grief or sometimes grieve for that matter. Grieve in a healthy way I should say. It's hard. Very Hard.
I feel as though there is a stigma around grief, like a timeline we have to abide by and then when that timeline is done, we are done. This makes zero sense. Grief doesn't have a timeline. Grief is not linear. Grief is all over the damn place. It can feel still in one moment and choatic in the next.
Well Guess What? THAT is Okay! You are allowed to feel whatever it is you need to feel.
Acknowledge those feelings.
With all that said, let's dig into how you can support your person who is grieving. What are things that are helpful? What is not helpful? It's certainly okay to feel completely lost on how you can be a supportive person to your loved one. It's hard to know even what to say or not, I totally get it. I was clueless too, until I went through it. I now get it. I wish I didn't..but here we are.
What NOT to Say...
Don't worry, you will find someone new.
At least you have your kid(s)
I totally get it, I went through a divorce!
Everything happens for a reason
Telling them a story about yourself trying to relate
Saying "Let me know if you need anything" - that is putting alot of pressure on someone that is already going through so much. Instead, tell them what you can do. How you can help, for example, 'I would love to bring you dinner on X day'. This is a perfect response if that is something you COULD help with.
You are so strong
Remember to stay busy and keep active!
How are you holding up? - just ask how someone is doing in that moment. "How is this moment for you?
You should ______
Anything that starts with 'At Least..."
It just takes time
You are still sad? Aren't you done grieving?
He is in a better place
Don't worry, you can still have more kids
It was their time to go
I am sure there are more but these are things I have heard and that people I know grieving have heard. These things are not productive. Alot of these phrases come from a place of trying to 'fix' our loss. They come from a place of feeling uncomfortable due to someone else's grief. To a grieving person it can feel like someone is side stepping their emotions, that what they are going through isn't important and that we aren't being seen. Try not to minimize the devastating loss that someone is dealing with.
That devastating loss has a LOT of layers to it. Our nervous systems can only had so much trauma at once. So it will store away some trauma to be dealt with later. Which is why it's so important to work on healing. As you heal, more layers will come through needing to be acknowledged.
What TO Say and Do...
This biggest thing you can do is to just be present with your grieving person and listen. If you feel awkward in any silence, then just let that person know. Tell them that you don't know what to say but that you are sad with them, you love them and that we can talk as long as you want about your person. I know for me; I have needed to just be seen and heard in my grief. I don't need any fixing because the only way someone could truly 'fix' this is to bring Tanner back..and well we all know that is impossible. When talking about the person that died, always say their name. As a widow, I LOVE to hear stories about Tanner. He was amazing and I love when people talk about him and all the wild things he did!
Grieving people just need to know that people are there. It can be really tough from an outside perspective if you have never dealt with grief. I can assure you that you never want to be on the other side of that curtain though.
I hope that this helps you in guiding you on the right path to helping your loved ones. All we really want to do is help, am I right? I would love to hear any stories you have! Please comment below!