Recently we saw media coverage of yet another death from gun violence. This time a TSA worker who was simply doing his job. His life snuffed out in a split second leaving yet another family to grieve for their loved one. We experience 32 deaths daily in the U.S. from gun violence. A shocking but accurate statistic. These losses leave hundreds possibly thousands of walking wounded family and friends attempting to cope with these losses. Some are experiencing this type of grief for the first time in their lives. They wonder if they will ever be the same again.
Grief doesn’t leave very much room for new people or new experiences in our lives. We are simply exhausted just getting through the day with the burden and sorrow of our loss. We replay the ‘what ifs’ and ‘if onlys’ in our minds non stop in an effort to arrive at an understanding and eventual acceptance that our world will never be the same. Our loved one is gone…
We are frightened about becoming attached to others – the unpredictability of life just seems too overwhelming to allow any new connections to happen. After all, we think to ourselves, I don’t understand and couldn’t control this loss and it hurts too much to risk loss again. We may choose to remain isolated and aloof from others mistakenly thinking that there is safety in isolation. After all, we think to ourselves, others won’t judge us and wonder when we will be ourselves again. Yet, we don’t even know how to be the selves we once were before the loss. However, hiding our feelings drives the hurt deeper.
People wonder how long it will take to get over the feeling of devastation that hits you within seconds of waking in the morning. The time varies just as our experiences vary. The depth of our loss is directly related to the depth of our love.
One thing that’s important to remember is that rather than being concerned when you will ‘get over it’ the greater concern is any decisions that you make when you are still grieving. You will live with the results of these decisions forever. It is better to do nothing than risk a decision that could haunt you for the rest of your life. Take as long as you need to rearrange things in your life – after all, it is your life now and it is badly in need of repair.
Neil Abramson said in his book “Unsaid,” that ‘grief is so powerful because it has ‘one fierce allay and that is regret. Before you know it you’ve become that bitter shadow that people who used to love you cross the street to avoid.’
Powerful words to consider. When you choose isolation you do not heal but you bury the loss deep in your psyche and it will resurface when you least expect it – often in the form of fear and anger.
Better to find a friend or family member who will listen as you repeat the story about your loved one. You may need to repeat it hundreds of times but each time you will, in essence, be applying a small amount of salve on the wound in your heart. Slowly, very slowly it will heal. It will always leave a noticeable mark but not a chasm of fear and longing when you have taken the time to experience your grief fully.
Grief takes time but you are so worth it.
Have a great few days!