Things that shouldn’t happen happened multiple times this week. Reading the paper you understand the tragedies occurring throughout the world, the unrest within our communities and the turmoil within people’s lives.
These are the life-changing stories that took place in my very small section of the world.
I attend the funeral of a 28-year-old woman who dies from complications of illness, leaving two young children. Her parents and grandparents devastated by the random order of death that takes one of their youngest family members, first.
Meeting a woman at the funeral, she shares her story with me of losing her eight-year-old child, 30 years ago. Her husband also died a year-and-a-half ago, so we immediately bond as members of the widow’s club.
Then there is the older woman who is not physically hurt in the car accident, but whose story elicits fears of having to find a new car on her own. She is also a widow and without her partner’s guidance and with more financial worry, the task is daunting.
The phone call from the middle-aged woman after being fired without warning brings more shock waves. Consistent income and medical insurance is mandatory for this divorcee.
In utero, I was genetically hard-wired for empathy which makes me a good listener and caregiver. Realizing my limitations to fix everything; however, I can only listen to their stories and allow them to vent the rollercoaster of emotions that tumble out.
What I hear from each of them, what they all talk about is the emotional response to their loss. What they cannot find the name for is nothing other than GRIEF.
- All of their losses are accompanied by shock and they need to keep re-telling their stories until the details become real. Often the gravity of the situation can only be taken in small doses of reality, as it is overwhelming.
- Each person is struggling with the fact that their “old reality” does not exist any longer and many emotions rise to the surface.
- Sadness, anxiety, anger, depression, guilt, and fear of the unknown, can be a part of any journey through loss.
- Whatever our loss, we need time to process our emotional response to it before we can move forward and find solutions.
- Supportive people willing to listen and help in whatever way possible are the greatest gift. Even when they can’t “fix it” for us, they remind us that we are NOT ALONE.
So, even after a week of accompanying others through their losses, I know one thing for sure…
YOU and I make a difference. We can offer our arms for hugs, our ears for listening and our prayers for healing.