I was very fortunate to be in a position where I could interview the wife and daughter of a patient who had passed while under the care of our hospice team. This blog is about their story, their grief and the world that had changed for them.
In a world of social media and the all-knowing public, very few things are left unsaid. There are a couple of different views on death, but in my experience, they fall in two separate ends of the spectrum. Either we see someone is grieving or we assume they are not. If they do not post online, ask or call, then they must be fine. This simply is not true.
This family lost a beloved husband and father. They lost a mechanic, a sprinkler fixer, a helper, someone to go on walks with, a talker, a fun guy, a dad who would not walk a daughter down the aisle and a person who genuinely cared for them. It happened fast, real fast! He was young and in his prime. Yet, 10 days after the funeral, life was expected to go on. Friends stopped calling and life just moved on for everyone except them. These two do not post their pain and suffering on social media, they don't reach out because they do not want to burden friends and they silently grieve.
Meeting with these two ladies was a blessing and gift for me. They taught me some things that will touch my life forever and hopefully make me a better person. Here are just a few things that they shared with me.
-The people closest to the family never talk about him. The ladies would have preferred to laugh, maybe shed a few tears, but just talk about him. He was a great man! These memories fade without sharing them with friends and colleagues. They want to talk!
- The ones who they thought would reach out, never did. It was almost the opposite of what one would expect. Lifelong friends, club members and buddies, never checked on them after the funeral. The people who meant the most to him were simply not around. It has been my experience that men have a harder time facing the bitterness of death and loss. They need to fix things and if they can't, well it's just easier not to face it.
- Grief lasts longer than anyone has time for. It is a true emotion that is sparked by aromas, locations, songs, memories, the future, the past, foods, and movies...after all, it is only after a gift of pure love and devotion that one can feel such extreme pain.
-It's never too late to call and let someone know that you are thinking about them and ask if they need anything. Time frames, simply do not matter to a family or friend in times of sadness. The pain might dim some, but everyone still needs a pick me up now and then. If they cross your mind, just give them a quick call or drop by.
Grief is a journey and none of us have the same one. I will never forget these two beautiful ladies and their heartfelt discussion with me. There is grief counseling available in town, so if you or someone else you might know needs a shoulder, please call. As always, for questions on this or other topics, please call Brandie (Community Elderly Blogger) 591-0527