Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A challenge to help others

My father-in-law passed away just three months ago.  He was an extremely strong man and fought to stay alive for a very long time, defying most doctor's speculations.  Hospice eventually came in to help with his care and they did an amazing job for the family.  They prepared my mother-in-law with lots of guidance and support.  The nurses told her the steps he would take, the reactions to medications he might have and also gave  her insight about her own eventual grief journey. 

After he passed away I remember commenting to her that "she was grieving".  She was experiencing something and I saw her reactions as grief.  Her words back were that "hospice had explained the grieving to her and she had already grieved his loss before he was gone"  Truly, hospice did an outstanding job preparing her for his loss.

Well, it is now three months later and she is realizing that she is grieving.  I don't believe in the steps of grief, I believe they are circular and one stage can come back quickly as we circle into another stage.  For my mother in law it is a bit of the angry stage right now.  She is getting upset quickly with people that she probably wouldn't generally.  This is not a poor reflection on her in any means she is just grieving and doing her very best to be strong. 

I am telling you all this because I can see her grief because I have lived it and still live with it since DJ's death.
I am telling you this because you too have been there and are going through it. 
I am telling you all this because there will be a time when you need to help someone through the grief process because you have been there. 

Who better to help someone with their loss than someone who understands it?  Would you hire a painter to do your electrical work on your house?  No probably not, but you would hire a person you knew who was qualified, who had been in homes doing the work, a licensed worker who had the experience.  We the bereaved are no different than the qualified electrician-we are qualified in grief whether we want to be or not.  A bereaved parent should get a master's degree from their local college just for surviving the loss of their child--we have experience up the whazoo!


Are you going to go to that Compassionate Friend's meeting and hold the hand of a newly bereaved parent?  Are you going to send a card to a woman who has just lost her son to suicide because of a bully?  Are you simply going to give a parent a hug at church because you know their child's birthday is coming up? 

There are endless ways to help one another if you just open your heart to it.  Perhaps you are too short in your journey to help anyone today, just know that someday because the world is extremely small you will meet another parent who needs your insight and your help--it is inevitable. 

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