Doubly Sad

 

Reading today about Mary Kennedy’s funeral reminds me about the doubled sadness of those who must deal with the grief of losing someone who takes his or her own life. So many questions and so much guilt heaped on top of an already excruciating pain. Maybe also still experiencing the stigma that our society puts on suicide- it’s selfish, cowardly, such a waste of life…

I believe that someone leaves this world on purpose for reasons that none of us can know and it helps no one to speculate or judge. I have felt pain that has brought me close enough to that place that I can know what that can feel like; despair so deep and dark that you feel like you can’t breathe.   A person who comes to that decision doesn’t do it callously or on a whim.

Who can know what happens in those final moments, when maybe she or he can’t turn back this time. The pain is too great, the hope of recovery is extinct, the perception of the burden she or he is on others is overwhelming, or maybe there is an organic physical or chemical reaction going on in the body so he or she doesn’t even know what they’re doing.

We like to think that things are simple, black and white, cut and dry. We want things to fit in neat boxes, to be easily explained and understood. Quick fixes, simple answers to problems, one nation all believing the same thing under God– easy. But it doesn’t work like that does it? Life is very complex. It’s not just one or two things that happen that cause someone to take his or her own life. It’s never that simple.

I feel great compassion for those whose grief comes from this kind of loss.  I also know how hard it is to feel like you just can’t “do it” anymore.  I wish I could tell them not to feel responsible, that it wasn’t their fault, that they did the best they could and their loved ones also did the best they could.  But they have to come to that in their own time, in their own way.We just need to make sure they still feel supported and not blamed for what happened.

I do hope that we can all be aware of how important it is to understand stress and depression and what they do to people.  People still tend to poo-poo these things or talk about them matter-of-factly but they are very serious.  With our overly busy, overly stimulating lives, depression is more common than ever. We overtax not only our bodies but our emotions and very souls.  Maybe if we are all watching a little more closely we will see when someone needs help before it gets too bad – it could just be the hope they need.

 

Information on Depression

Signs of Depression

Advertisements

I wanted to share this post with you as this really captures what it’s like to struggle along the road of grief and try to deal with the real world. Words are not always the answer. Sometimes quiet compassion is all that’s needed.

ofmenandmountains

Having grief in your life on this level is walking a path filled with land mines.   I think I am navigating my way through pretty well when wham!  one blows up in my face.

I’ve been told lately by a number of people that have NOT been by my side during the last 10 months that I “look better”, I  “sound better” , that I “appear to be doing better.”    I am taken aback.  Their comments are meant to encourage me I am sure.  Instead they make me want to punch them in the face.

The conundrum is that I don’t know why I feel that way.  These people obviously have only seen me in passing, they have not squatted here in the trenches with me as some others have.  I’m not sure exactly what they mean and maybe they don’t either.

But here is how I take…

View original post 888 more words

A Question of Faith

I read an article today which brought me back to something I’ve been thinking about a lot particularly in relation to grief.  I know it can be a sensitive subject for many people as it has to do with religion and personal beliefs about God and what happens when we die.

People tend to have wide-ranging and often strongly held views on this which can greatly influence their experiences with death and grief.  For many, it can be very comforting to have a strong belief that the person who has died has passed on to a beautiful, safe place where there is no more pain or sorrow.  I personally believe this is true.  However, I have found that there are many different ways in how people view and describe this post death experience, including what it’s like, who goes where and the rules you need to follow to get there.

The reason I ponder this is twofold.  One is because I am bothered by the angry divisions that are being fostered in the name of religion in our country more strongly now than ever.  It seems that we continue to try to use it as a weapon to get people to behave in certain ways as opposed to the spiritual nurturing that it should be.

More importantly though, and in relation to the article that I read, are the difficulties that these ranging views and approaches can cause for those who are grieving as people try to comfort them. It can make it awkward or challenging to know how to approach someone if you aren’t sure of his or her beliefs.

I know that people are frustrated with political correctness but death is a time for sensitivity and putting your own views and needs aside no matter what.  If the phrase “it’s not about you” were ever appropriate, that is the time.  It’s so tempting to fall into the trap of saying the usual things when you see someone who is grieving- “He’s in a better place”, “There’s a reason for everything, only God can know”, etc.  Or we may feel we can ease someone’s pain if we remind him or her about God and religion.  This can be very tricky.  Unless you know the person very well and know how s/he feels, it is probably not the time to try to tell someone about faith and God and believing.

Now, I know there are people who may need and want that.  What I am saying is that you have to really take your cues from the person who you are comforting, not from your beliefs and values.  I feel that is where the mistake occurs.  In our effort to say something, we often fall back on what we would want to hear, or at least think we would want to hear.

Remember that I said that I am a believer?  Well when my baby died, someone actually said to me “I guess God must have needed another angel”.  What?  Why would you think that, even if I believed that my baby was in heaven,  I would want to believe that God took her because he wanted another angel? Telling me that my baby was now an angel didn’t help when all I wanted was for her to be in my arms.

“It was God’s will” is another popular thing to say and I have no problem telling you that one is off of my list as well.  As I have grown and matured in my faith, I do not believe that God “wills” these things.

I have heard so many stories from people of things being said and done that were meant to comfort but made them feel worse- “he’s with God now” when the widow is crying in agony “but I want him here with me”.  Or someone insisting on a formal religious funeral ceremony when it wasn’t wanted by the deceased and everyone is upset and uncomfortable and great expense is incurred that no one can afford. Or there’s an implication that because a baby wasn’t baptised that there will be a “problem” – with what?- getting into Heaven? Really?

And what about those who are not religious or do not believe in God?  As the article I read addressed, there are a lot of people who do not associate dying with anything but the end of life and do not want to hear about God or angels or heaven or anything like that.  And I believe that they deserve and need the same respect and kindness and sensitivity as everyone else.

The thing is, we are a people of all different kinds of faiths and beliefs.  We all practice our faiths and express our spirituality differently. We are not all Christians and among those who are, there are many interpretations of exactly what being one means.  We do not all believe in God – that is just the way it is.  But we do all experience grief and what matters is how we respond to that in the persons that we encounter.

Everyone who is grieving needs quiet understanding, a shoulder to lean on, someone to help with the housework and the kids and the home maintenance, friends to get them out of the house, and a listening ear for months and years to come.  It doesn’t matter who they worship or if they worship at all- grief doesn’t care.  We all love and we all lose those we love and it hurts us all the same.

Read the full article here>  Grief Beyond Belief

%d bloggers like this: