I stride into Target on a mission: to buy a bag of craisins.
But barricading my path into the store stand huge banners announcing “For Your Mom” and “Mother’s Day!” As if big bright signs can make impossible dreams come true.
I start to sob, startling myself and scattering innocent bystanders.
Later, I text this photo to Kathi with the message, “One of the things they need to teach in Grief 101.”
The most important life skill I’ve never learned ’til now is how to grieve.
In fact, I’ve spent my life running from pain and disappointment only to discover, at middle age, that they are two of the great constants on a fallen planet.
Which makes me wonder: If grief, pain, and disappointment are so prevalent, why was I never taught how to grieve somewhere along the way?”
Hoping for a crash course, I ask my Bravery Buddies, “If you were invited to guest lecture for Grief 101, what one (or two or three…!) specifics would you want to share?”
10 Lessons Worth Learning
Lesson #1 — Don’t put off grief because others are depending on you to be strong. (PW)
Lesson #2 — Remember that grieving takes a lot of energy and brain power. (TW)
Lesson #3 — Don’t be afraid when a rough moment hits you like a Mack truck. There will be days that it is as fresh as when your loss happened. (ED)
Lesson #4 — Grief and love are the same thing. I won’t stop loving that person. I won’t stop grieving that person. It will look different over time, but I won’t get over the grief because I will not get over loving them. (KL)
Lesson #5 — Don’t expect yourself to grieve a certain way. There’s no right way to do it. Let yourself feel all the emotions as fully as you can handle and find healthy ways to cope with them (may take research, reaching out to others, and/or just seeing what works.) (TW)
Lesson #6 — Grief does not have to be the result of a death. It can also come from the loss of a hope and dream for a child, knowing life will never be the same and will never go back to the way it was. You’re not going crazy and you need to give yourself permission to grieve since you may have not lost that child but you lost a piece of that future with that child. (SN)
Lesson #7 — Manage your grief. Make a routine appointment with yourself to grieve, first on a daily basis, then weekly, and eventually monthly. If you need to grieve, you cry, moan, yell, drop to the ground face first—whatever YOU do to grieve—at the appointed time. If you walk into Target and feel like you are about to explode, remind yourself that you can grieve later at “7:30 pm after the kids go to bed” or whenever you have appointed your grief time. It will help you pull your sh*t together in public places. It only works if you keep your appointments. If you don’t feel like your grieving at the appointed time, don’t. Count that as healing. If you are done in 2 minutes stop. If it takes all night, take all night. I lost my mom over 40 years ago. I still use this message when I go through the anniversary of her death, her birthday, and Mothers’ Day. (CM)
Lesson #8 — It’s OK to be mad at God. He can handle it, and letting that happen allows Him to bring healing. (EG)
Lesson #9 — Allow yourself to let other things go while your spirit copes with the loss. (TW)
Lesson #10 — Unexpected beauty and joy come from grief. Highly Recommended: Allison Fallon’s new blog post “10 Incredible Benefits of a Broken Heart.”
What have you learned about grief? What would you add to the list?