One of my clients just told me how much she hates people. I am pretty sure that is exactly what she is feeling. I applauded her truth telling. She went on to explain that it makes her feel like striking out when well meaning friends and acquaintances tell her how happy they are that she is on Facebook or the fact that she has a new man in her life… her kitten. As if a kitten replaces her dead husband. I am floored by the comments people make at times. I encouraged her (as I do most grievers I have interacted with) to write down her feelings, write letters to her husband and all of people who have ticked her off by saying selfish, unfeeling, thoughtless, insensitive, or just down right stupid things. I am hoping she will start a blog for widows expressing her truth. We talk about how so many people fake it through life and for whatever reason are not authentic about expressing how they are really feeling. It can be especially obvious when people try to cheer you on because the person is so uncomfortable interacting with you as you grieve. They want you to feel better because it affects them. How does that help the griever? It really doesn’t. So, my belief is that when someone asks how you are doing? Tell them honestly. “I am feeling ___________.” or “My life rather sucks at the moment because I am grieving.” “There is no time limit on grief.” “Even though I am here at work or out having a drink/dinner/fun, or wherever does not mean I am not still grieving.” “I am smiling on the outside but shattered on the inside. Please be careful with me.”
Please remember to put yourself first.
Shirley Enebrad is a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist with 25 years of experience. For her many years of work with pediatric cancer patients and those grieving the loss of a loved one, she received the Jefferson Award for Outstanding Public Service and the Angel of Hospice Award. She is the author of Six-Word Lessons on Coping with Grief and Six-Word Lessons for Surviving a Devastating Diagnosis.
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