I’ve heard it said that the hardest part of grief isn’t the beginning. At the beginning of the situation that you grieve you are surrounded with love and well wishes. You are in the forefront of everyone’s minds as they try to help you through. No…the hardest part of grief is when people have to turn their focus back to their own lives. You are left with your pain and grief…and only your own thoughts to keep you company.
It sucks. Without a doubt. But it is part of life. People are inherently self involved. And I don’t mean that in a bad way at all.
I still say the best way I was ever able to explain this theory was in a conversation I had with my dad after 9/11. We lived in NJ and had been witness to the devastation of families and volunteered to help however we could. So, one day I made the same comment that I made above. People are inherently self involved. He was aghast. “That’s so cynical!!” “Not at all…it’s just human nature. Let me put it this way…9/11. HORRIBLE tragedy, correct?” “Yes!!! Thousands of people died!!!” “I know. Now. Imagine I had died in a COMPLETELY UNRELATED car accident on that same day. What would you grieve more? My death or the death of thousands?” “Yours of course. You’re my daughter.” “Exactly…but don’t you think that’s a little self involved? One life being worth more grief than the loss of thousands? But…it’s human nature…we have to be most affected by what is closest to home. It’s how we survive. It doesn’t mean we don’t care. It just means we are surviving.”
Why am I writing about this today? Because we all come to a moment…a moment when we are dealing with a situation that is rocking our worlds…when we suddenly feel alone.
As a friend just told me, “I’m sick of talking about it and I know y’all are sick of hearing about it.” <~~~~~ No. I’m not. Ever.
The thing is this…maybe we stop asking if someone is ok everyday…maybe we don’t have the time to drop by unannounced and annoy the hell out of someone just to remind them they’re not alone…maybe we have to take care of other things…
But in those moments when we feel that others must be sick of our grief…I bet any one of those people would stop what they were doing in that moment to be there if we just reached out.
In the beginning…those people who won’t let you be alone…in the end will be the people who will still be there when you’re ready to talk.
And those people never ever EVER get sick of being there for those they love.
I write this to remind myself. I write this to remind my friend. I write this to remind every person who’s life has ever touched mine.
You are never alone.
<insert creepy stalker music here>