Don’t call us, we’ll call you

January 17, 2015

October – November: Grieve

Filed under: Personal — Tags: , , , , , — llcall @ 1:59 pm

I’m temporarily skipping over August and September in my chronicle of my 2014 monthly themes. (If you’re keeping track at home — which is probably exactly no one since I barely am — here is January, February, March, April-May, and June-July).

You could probably guess from my posts here that my October and November monthly themes were utterly hijacked by this emergent one. I grieved and I studied my grief. Earlier this week, a former student shared this article on Facebook and it reminded me of so many of the things I’ve learned about grief. These are a few:

Tell people what’s going on with you. At worst, they’ll speak platitudes and tell you that your kid needs you to be happy and you’ll nod. At best, they’ll share their pain and some part of it will be just exactly how you feel right then.

Don’t equate letting go of the person’s “things” with letting go of the person. Do take a picture of said threadbare things and cry a little before turning them over to Neal for decluttering.

Take that final trip; make the extra visit. It will cost less than regret.

Go to the same sushi place that you used to go to; order the same eel roll, even though it was her favorite, because you always liked it too. (Just don’t wear mascara when you go to said sushi place.)

When you see family and friends, bring it up. Don’t let it be the elephant in the room, even though some mistaken impulse makes you think that’s a safer path for them and you.

Do contemplate the “stages of grief,” but don’t mistake them for actual “stages” that proceed in a linear fashion. While you’re at it, don’t assume anything in life proceeds in a linear fashion.

Even if you meant to do it months ago, do send a card or letter or pictures to the family. Maybe it will be just the right time, when they feel the outside world has stopped grieving with them.

Excise the word “closure.” It slips into the mind and out of the mouth sometimes, but it’s an illusion, and a bad one at that: “people understood that they didn’t really want to achieve closure after all. To do so would be to lose a piece of a sacred bond.” (from Patrick O’Malley’s “Getting Grief Right“)

Write in the middle of the night, as needed.


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