Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Grief river rapids

Of all the analogies I've heard about grieving, it's the river one that rang true for me. How sometimes the river flows peacefully and calm, and other times the river is rough, with rocks and flows aggressively. If you've never see a river like this, then obviously your sister never convinced you to go tubing down the Coquitlam river before. 

Lately my grief river has been a little rougher. I'm trying to meet these feelings without judgement. It's a fine balance to welcome these feelings as a testament to your love for that person, and not dwell on them so much you're forgetting all the good memories. 

For anyone new to the game, I'd say leave your epectations at the door. Don't expect to be "over it" by anytime, and don't be too hard on yourself when the grief hits you with all its strength. Plan for the days you know will be hard, but also be ready for unexpected greif rapids. 

Just yesterday I had a client who was dealing with the loss of her dad, and she said, "I just want my dad back" and I lost it. I made it to the back room at work before I broke down in tears. Big tears. Big heaving breaths between them. I weeped. I let it out for just long enough that I felt I'd done it justice, then I dried my eyes and went back to work. Pulled up my big girl panties and got on with it. 

I wouldn't agree with as much with "time heals all wounds" as much as "fake it until you make it". Do the best you can, get up and dressed for work. Eat - try small portions of a big variety of foods and nibble away. Sleep, do whatever you need to relax, and make this happen. Smile. Eventually faking it turns into actually feeling that way, and being okay with it. Be gracious when people say, "I'm sorry for your loss" especially the 110th time - it's your world that feels empty, those words are full of love. 

Accept that some people close to you won't know what to say, or what to do to help you. Accept that some strangers will. I found doing small things to help other people, and bigger things like fundraising events help a lot too. 

I hope you've found comfort in my words, and feel free to pass this on if you found it helpful. Maybe even to someone who needs it. 

"There's beauty in this world. Sometimes you have to look hard for it, and other times you have to create it. But it's there"

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