I don't proclaim to know what people should say to others going through grief. I have read so many books lately, started attending a grief group and spoken with those who have travelled this road before me and after me. They all agree that people can just say the darndest things sometimes and then there are those afraid of saying such things that say nothing.
I went to my grief group tonight. We all laughed at the "you are so strong" and "you look so good" comments.. not to insult those that say those things. We realize it is the best one knows to say in the moment. But we really don't feel strong - we just see no other choice, particularly those of us with children depending on us. We would love to be less strong how should we do that? We certainly don't feel we look good because we mostly likely haven't been sleeping well or much, eating well or exercising much, most likely. If we look good because some stress is off of us well, we would just as soon have that stress back and look like hell if it meant our loved one would be back here with us to "stress" over.
The best I have seen in this area however came in the reading we did at the end of our grief group tonight....
A Letter for Non-Grievers
To my dear (family, friends, employer, etc),
I have experienced a loss that is devastating to me. It will take time, perhaps years, for me to work through the grief I am having because of this loss.
I will cry more than usual for some time. My tears are not a sign of weakness or a lack of hope or faith. They are the symbols of the depth of my loss and a sign that I am recovering.
I may become angry without there seeming to be a reason for it. My emotions are all heightened by the stress of grief. Please be forgiving if I seem irrational at times.
I need your understanding and your presence more than anything else. If you don't know what to say, just touch me or give me a hug to let me know you care. Please don't wait for me to call you. I am often too tired to even think of reaching out for the help I need.
Don't allow me to withdraw from you. I need you more than ever during the next year.
Pray for me only if your prayer is not an order for me to make you feel better. My faith is not an excuse for the process of grief.
This loss is the worst thing that could happen to me. But, I will get through it and I will live again. I will not always feel as I do now. I will laugh again.
Thank you for caring about me. Your concern is a gift I will always treasure.
I dont think I could possibly say it better than this letter...
Hugs to all,