Grief and Respect...

Grief is an incredibly difficult phenomenon to navigate.

I have been wrestling with blogging this week because a terrible thing has happened and it has struck me deeply but out of respect for those directly involved I have not known whether or not I could even talk about it.

A friend's child died a few days ago in a tragic accident. This is not a close friend, though I consider her a good friend. I haven't known her very long, but in the time I have known her, she has been a wonderful presence in my life and in the life of my family. She is, by nature, a very encouraging and positive person, a very inclusive person, and so, even though I have only known her a short while, she has made a deep and lasting impression on me and my family.

As a mother of similar aged child, I can barely begin to fathom the utter devastation of losing a child so suddenly, so unexpectedly.

The Grumpy Old Man and I were shocked to tears when we heard the news and our hearts have been heavy every since. We only met and spoke with the child once or twice, and yet we feel such grief because it hurts us to know this lovely friend and her family are in so much pain right now.

Grief is difficult to navigate. It is incredibly personal and often very complex. It is hard to know how best to respect other people's grief because everyone experiences it vastly differently. I have great difficulty with prescriptive approaches to dealing with grief. Who has the right to grieve? Who should talk about their grief, and who should not talk about their grief. Obviously, the people directly affected by the loss should be protected and honoured, but how is that best achieved? Some say it is selfish to openly grieve if you are not directly affected, others say openly grieving can console those directly affected because it shows them their grief is shared.

It is hard to know what to do. Especially in this day and age of technology where emotional outpouring is easily shared and yet lacking in the essential intimacy of person to person communications. Political correctness can at once protect the vulnerable and create hurt in highly emotionally charged situations which are mediated by the impersonal nature of the internet.

Grief is an emotion and as such it is raw and messy and difficult to manage. I have felt, this week, that attempting to manage my own grief and seeing others attempt to manage the grief of people they do not know well has often only pushed grief into a corner where it has lashed out because of its wild nature.

And so, I guess, I feel expressing my grief for my friend who has always been so lovely and so encouraging and such a positive force to be around is the only way I see can to process and honour the great heartbreak that the events of this week have brought to so many people, both those who have lost the company of this much loved child in their lives and those whose hearts break for the family that they should have to endure such sorrow.

For Dean.

Little Snowdrop - Author Unknown

The world may never notice
If a Snowdrop doesn't bloom,
Or even pause to wonder
If the petals fall too soon.

But every life that ever forms,
Or ever comes to be,
Touches the world in some small way
For all eternity.

The little one we longed for
Was swiftly here and gone.
But the love that was then planted
Is a light that still shines on.

And though our arms are empty,
Our hearts know what to do.
For every beating of our hearts
Says that we love you.


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