On my mind tonight: Grief.
After an emotionally difficult day at work today, my mind turned to loss and grief as I drove home.
I thought about the grief I have experienced personally in losing our twin sons at 20 weeks.
My mind drifted to my friends who have also lost children.
Then those friends who have lost loved ones, or people close to them.
And finally to people I know who have not actually lost someone they cared about due to death, but lost someone for other reasons.
Or simply just losing things or experiences. Things ending. Things changing.
NPR was on in the background as I drove and I listened to the attorney in Baltimore who was frustrated by acquittal after acquittal by those who played a part in Freddie Gray’s tragic and unnecessary death. I was touched by his family’s thankfulness for her and heard their grief as they spoke about the loss of their son.
Another story followed of a man beaten by police in Chicago until he gave a false confession to end being harmed. He served decades in prison and when he got home his mother, who had developed Alzheimers, didn’t recognize him. When asked if the sum he was awarded (which was far greater than others to whom the same thing had happened) was worth it… if any amount would be… for that time he lost with his mother? No. A billion dollars? No.
Loss. End. Change.
That is grief.
When we lose something, when something changes, or when something comes to an end we are susceptible to feeling the conflicting feelings of grief.
Here is a list that I found of forty different life experiences where one may experience feelings of grief:
(note that the list includes items which are “positive” events. Even though those events seem to come with a good trade off, they certainly can come with a range of conflicting feelings.)
- Death of a spouse
- Marital separation
- Death of a close family member
- Personal injury or illness
- Dismissal from work
- Marital reconciliation
- Change in health of family member
- Sexual difficulties
- Gain a new family member
- Business readjustment
- Change in financial state
- Death of a close friend
- Change to different line of work
- Change in frequency of arguments
- Major mortgage
- Foreclosure of mortgage or loan
- Change in responsibilities at work
- Child leaving home
- Trouble with in-laws
- Outstanding personal achievement
- Spouse starts or stops work
- Begin or end school
- Change in living conditions
- Revision of personal habits
- Trouble with boss
- Change in working hours or conditions
- Change in residence
- Change in schools
- Change in recreation
- Change in church activities
- Change in social activities
- Minor mortgage or loan
- Change in sleeping habits
- Change in number of family reunions
- Change in eating habits
- Minor violation of law
- Loss of Trust, Loss of Approval, Loss of Safety and Loss of Control of my body
Seeing this list made me realize that it is likely that every person I interact with is dealing with or has dealt with something hard for them. They have probably dealt with multiple things on that list.
One thing on the list which I would like to point out, as it is very applicable to this blog and it’s readers is the bullet point “A change in church activities”. I’d like to delve into this along with my personal experiences regarding such in a future post, so consider this post kind of a part one or primer.
But until then, and for now, my conclusion is a quote which I often see in memes as I peruse Pinterest. I actually put it together as a coloring/doodle page that you can print out. It’s not very fancy, but you can certainly dress it up.
Also, I would love to hear about your personal experiences with grief, if you’re willing to share them. I am here to offer kindness, support, and love and I hope others are able to as well. Because we all could use more of that.