In the past eight years, I’ve lost both my parents and my brother, plus over a dozen others. This post is about other people’s reactions to your grief. I know all of you will be able to relate to this.
People mean well, they really do, I suppose. Some people are so uncomfortable with any type of bad news they don’t know how to react. Some have their standard replies when told someone died. We have all suffered through them. They say things like “God needed another angel” or “They are in a better place”. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to hear those things. But, I thank them and move on.
One thing though that really gets me angry is the person who tries to cheer me up. They call and tell me all about the funny thing that happened to them at the store that day or some great piece of news they received. They make jokes and act as though there is nothing traumatic going on in your life. I say they are trying to cheer me up, because I can only guess that’s why they are doing it. I could be wrong, but for the sake of argument , let’s just say that’s their motive. If not, they really have problems!
My life has fallen apart. I have lost someone I love. Not only are they gone, but my whole life will change. I am deep in grief and barely know if I’m coming or going and don’t really care. I don’t want to be cheered up… I can’t be cheered up. I truly do not understand how anyone in their right mind would think it was possible at this point. Maybe way down the road, but not now.
I have wanted to scream “Shut up!” more times than you can imagine. I have even dreamed of being able to reach through the phone and punch them in the face. Yep, when your grieving, your anger can reach an all time high and that’s ok. It’s perfectly normal.
The other sad thing is that they get very disgruntled that you aren’t laughing or that you get off the phone as soon as you can. Luckily, these people usually stop calling after awhile because they just aren’t going to deal with you if you don’t appreciate their attempts to help you. What on earth can they be thinking?
A side issue to this is that when you are hurting, it sometimes makes you feel worse to hear all the great things going on in other people’s lives. This may be selfish, but it’s a fact. It can make you feel that much more alone and isolated. Your dying inside and the rest of the world is blazing away with joy! I don’t want them to suffer too, I just don’t want to hear about how wonderful their life is.
I try very hard to not be judgmental and forgive people their thoughtless acts, but when grieving this can be really hard to do. If you’re on the receiving end of these cheer givers, don’t put up with it. Honor yourself and your feelings. Try to distance yourself from them. If you happen to be reading this and you are guilty of doing this, please stop. There is nothing wrong with finding something to laugh about when you’re grieving…it’s good medicine, but it rarely comes from these types of conversations.
Have you encountered this and if so, how have you dealt with it? Let me know in the comments!
Until my next post…peace and love to you.