All entries for Monday 19 November 2007

November 19, 2007

Grief.

I’ve noticed over the past few days how differently people deal with grief. I don’t profess to know why this happens or what it means, but it seems to be that there are various different versions on a few categories that people tend to fall into.

First of all I’ve noticed the “normality” method. (obviously not a technical term, I just made it up). This is where you talk to someone who was close to the person in question and they seem as if nothing has happened, and don’t burst into tears or wail even if you mention the person. They talk around the subject, even crack a joke or two, and are very matter-of-fact about the whole thing. These are the people that worry me the most. You know that actually under the brave facade they are falling apart, finding it incomprehensible that this could have happened, and perhaps even in denile.

Then there’s the “Silent” method. This is where the person in question doesn’t mention at all what has happened and doesn’t want to be anywhere near anyone else who is willing to talk about it. As if they won’t accept it has happened, or that even the thought of it is too upsetting. They are the ones where when they don’t think anyone is watching them they have this vacant expression and a sadness to them that just makes you want to go over and give them a massive hug.

I’m not sure how to describe the next one…it’s where you get upset initially, then you calm down and think you’re fine, but find that things wholly unconnected with the actual grief will make you cry buckets, which links back to the grief itself. For example, you might be going along fine, then someone does something stupid – e.g. pull out infront of you or cut you up and instead of reacting with a blast on the horn, possibly a rude sign or just yelling loudly at them, you take it really personally and all of a sudden the world seems out to get you and you deal with it really badly. perhaps “repressed” would be one way to describe it.

It’s difficult to know how to approach people who are dealing with their own grief in all these (and more) ways, and I’ve always felt that sadness and grief are a very personal thing and there is no right or wrong way to grieve. I suppose it doesn’t matter how you do it, what’s important is that you get support, however this manifests itself – it could be a hug, some kind words, offers of help with everyday tasks, counselling or even medication. It’s so sad and life altering to lose a loved one, and it does make you think about how fragile the balance is between life and death. I think that it’s after the dust settles, once everything has been put in order that the shock stops and the real grieving process begins.


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