Sarah Parmenter’s blog entry, “The Things Nobody Tells You About Grief,” is so damn full of good advice. If you have recently experienced a loss and are at the beginning of your “grief journey,” this essay is for you. There is so much that those of us who have lived through the first few years of grief wish we had been told ahead of time, and Sarah lays a lot of it out, concisely, compassionately and secularly.
I was unprepared for the sleepless nights and the feeling of wanting to walk around in a protective bubble. For someone who’s spent an entire life proud of the strong facade I could switch on should I need to, I wanted people to know what had happened to me, so it would excuse my quietness at times. I didn’t want them to make a fuss, just hold the knowledge. The biggest security blanket I’ve craved for is for people to not expect too much of me.
And then she throws in a whole section we wish our friends had been told when we were really going through it. Here are just two of her seven apt recommendations for being with a grieving friend:
2. Understand you’re now dealing with a muddled mind. The person grieving needs help making decisions, but gently. Clarity of whatever you’re offering is imperative. Simply just deciding a meeting place and time for that promised coffee was (and still is) enough for me and lessened the cognitive load just that bit more. Be a little more patient.
3. Everything and anything can set the griever off on an emotional downward spiral. But often, talking about the lost loved one is the thing that brings the most peace—yet it’s the one thing people skirt around.
If you are someone who has been through a few years of mourning and learned to live with your own grief, what do you wish you had been told ahead of time? What do you wish your friends had been told?