Conversations in Grief Blog: Pause and Remember
Pause and Remember
By Hilary Furnish
Memory can be a funny thing. Have you ever sat at a stoplight and found yourself reminded of an important task you need to do? A dentist appointment to make or a bill that needs to be paid? You tell yourself that you have to remember to do this, and then the light turns green. You continue the drive to your destination, and when you get there, all memory of the task is gone. Living your life distracts you, and you completely forget what you still need to do.
Remembering to acknowledge and support a grieving loved one can feel a bit like the experience I just described. In the beginning, their loss may have played a significant role in your relationship, but as time went on, it became easy to move on, as there are so many other distractions. You may have asked them about their feelings early on, but now wait for them to bring it up. You care deeply about them, but their grief is no longer part of your interactions.
For the bereaved, grief is often constant, and they cannot escape from their experience of loss. It is always with them. For the rest of us, having reminders to check in on our grieving loved ones is not only helpful but important, as many grievers feel forgotten or believe they are a burden on their loved ones. I have often heard the bereaved express a desire not to bother others or make other people feel sad. They want support, to talk about their loved one who died, and to stay connected, but they struggle with initiating the conversation. This is where having reminders can be helpful. Reminders encourage us to keep the conversation and support regarding their loss going for as long as they need it.
Each year, August 30th is National Grief Awareness Day. It is a day to pause and acknowledge the grief we may be feeling or to support our loved ones who are grieving. This day reminds us that grief is always with us, and it is important to take time to acknowledge it. We can do that in a few ways:
1) Reach out to a loved one who is grieving. Call them, drop by with their favorite coffee, or simply send a text to let them know you are there for them. Let them know you have not forgotten their grief.
2) Take time to acknowledge the grief you may be feeling and to care for yourself in ways you find supportive. Go for a walk, engage in a remembrance ritual, or simply take time to assess how you are feeling.
3) Share your story of loss with another. By talking about grief, we not only support ourselves but also help others who may be struggling with their own losses.
4) Learn more about grief and loss. We will all find ourselves experiencing periods of grief and loss in our lifetimes. Having a deeper understanding of how that may affect us and ways to cope can help us during these difficult seasons. Read a book, listen to a podcast, or check out one of these websites for more information: WhatsYourGrief, Grief.com, Refugeingrief.
We all need reminders from time to time to do what is important. Today, take time to pause and acknowledge your grief or the grief of another. Name what you may be feeling and care for one another in ways that are supportive of you. Make your grief a priority and write it on the top of your list for today: grieve.