Grief is an interesting topic for me. I know that people grieve differently and that people react to grief differently as well. I have actually started and stopped this blog about grief several times over the last few months and I am finally ready to finish it. I have often reflected as to why it was so hard for me to write about something so common. We all have dealt with grief; it is part of our human experience. Through the passing of a loved one, a deep loss or disappointment, grief is definitely one of the heaviest feelings that we can have. I think my avoidance of finishing this had to do with avoiding that heavy feeling.
As a lightworker, I don’t do heavy well. But that is the point that I want to embrace in this blog post. We HAVE to do something about our grief. We HAVE to work through it and look it in the face in order to process it. There are people who like to be alone with their grief and people who like to share with others at their time of sadness. Some people are really good at coming around and being there because of the basic human need to want to “do something” to help during a crisis, but many times the person who is grieving is not thought about months later when some of the deeper need for healing is happening. Other people are not so good at coming around because they do not know what to do or say or perhaps they do not want to intrude on a private time.
I never seem to know what to do when a friend or colleague of mine is going through grief. I may ask them how they are doing, but if they don’t want to share or are evasive, I don’t pursue the conversation. Perhaps this is because of the way I deal with my personal business. I am a very private person when it comes to serious matters, so I would rather be alone or with my immediate family members at that time. As a result, I really don’t know what to do other than pray when it is someone else who is not immediate family going through grief.
As a teacher, over the years, I have had students lose a parent and I have had students pass. In the times when I had a student lose a parent, I just held that child as long as I could and cried with him or her. Having students pass is hard. Teachers all call their students their “kids”. Most of us really feel that way too. They are our kids. Most of the time, we don’t have a relationship with the family, so it is hard to do more than give our condolences. Without knowing the family or the dynamics of the family, many teachers want to do more, but are afraid to overstep our boundaries.
Recently, I had a niece that was involved in a tragic accident. She and her family were hit by an ambulance that did not have its lights going and it ran a stop sign and hit her at a high speed. She was pregnant and due to be induced in two weeks. She has extensive injuries to both arms, lost a massive amount of blood, and had to have an emergency c-section. The baby died.
The grief around this is tremendous. It is for her, for us as family, and for the ambulance driver. Over the past few days, I have witnessed some interesting ways people deal with the grief. Of course, my sister, who is one of the strongest women I know, was immediately here from Georgia and helping at the hospital. My sister’s sister, who has unfortunately been through a similar horrific accident, also came down. My niece has had her three Aunts, whom she never has had in the same room, other than a holiday, at the same time helping her with different things. We all bring separate strengths with us. We joke with her that she now has three witches with separate powers by her side.
During this time, I have noticed how different people are reacting. Coming from a place of no judgment and just observing, I have noticed how this grief has touched certain people. I see it in the hospital staff and doctors that were in the ER and worked on her and the baby. I see it in the way the nurses lovingly deal with her and speak to her. I feel the grief of the ambulance driver every time I tune in to him. He immediately ran over to my niece and got in the truck with her and stayed there until help came. She said he kept apologizing and when she told him she was pregnant he started crying. Different people are grieving in different ways. There are people who have not shown up to see her at the hospital since she has been conscious, who really should be there, and there are people who have been there every day with her. There are people she hasn’t seen in a long time coming in to see her. The media has been ridiculous, but when asking her how private she wanted to keep things, she said that the media already told the world about everything, she just wanted to make sure everybody knew it was not her fault and she did nothing wrong. The poor kid.
Of course, there are the people who tend to say the wrong things. I think if my niece hears “things happen for a reason” one more time, she may scream. This is part of the process. We talked to her about people coming from the right place but saying or doing hurtful things and how to cope. She still has a funeral to plan for a baby she hasn’t even held.
Grief. I think that prior to this incident, I was not ready to finish this blog because I had not yet come to a conclusion with which I was comfortable. I think that if somebody is grieving, reach out to them. Let them know you care. If you can’t be there, call. Send a card. Send an email. Say a prayer. Offer to watch the kids, take the dog out. Ask what you can do. Sometimes all there is for you to do is hold space. However, if you feel the need to run away and avoid the situation, reflect on why and come to terms with it; especially if it is an immediate family member that is affected. That person needs you and the other family members do too.
You truly learn a person’s heart and what they are made of when there is a crisis. What is it that you are made of?
Blessings, my friends.