Abigail and Dolley readers today we mark the three year anniversary of my Father's passing. It was a cold, clear, beautiful January day exactly like it is today. That he should leave us on such a day was a fitting tribute to him, because he was such a light in this world and his personality was bright and warm. The world is a sadder and darker place without him and there has not been a day that has gone by that I have not missed him and wished he was still here. I have come to realize a lot of things about grief these last few years and I'd like to share with you some of my lessons.
The first lesson is that everyone has to grieve in their own way. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. A quick internet search will yield many articles on the stages of grief but it is important to realize that they are not linear, predictable, or all inclusive. A recently bereft person may go through three or four stages a day, some might never feel or experience one of the stages - grief is a personal thing.
Next, grief has it's own timing. There is no chart that you can concoct that will say, you will grieve X amount of days for the loss of a parent, X amount of days for the loss of a spouse, ect. It will simply be a personal experience and no amount of time, either personal or arbitrary will change that. One of the best things I recall reading in the days afterwards were that you only get a chance to grieve right once. If you try to rush through, push it down, move on before it is time, it will spring up in unexpected ways and times and can truly disrupt or disturb the rest of your life. So do not rush this process, it will have it's own time whether you like it or not.
Everyone who loved the deceased has a right to grieve. This is particularly sticky in the age of divorce or in the case of long term domestic partnerships. Ex's are not expected to mourn. If years have passed, it is even more shocking to them and everyone around them if they mourn deeply. There is a shame in this type of grief, especially if they are remarried. This was one of the most complicated aspects of the grieving process.
Lastly, people in mourning may react inappropriately, they might say things they should not, they may snap and be angry. When the fog of grief begins to lift they may deeply regret those things, forgive them. Be ready though, because it can take you by surprise.
In the end, you never get over it but you learn how to live with it. If you and your loved ones are believers and followers of Christ, take comfort that you will see them again. This is the greatest hope and the buttress that has seen me through. For there is no death for those in Christ, just a brief parting before we join them again.
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