Handle with Care, Everyone is Grieving
When we are dealing with grief, it feels difficult to function because nothing we do feels exactly right. We may even wish there was a sign around our neck that says “I’m grieving. Handle with care.” But the truth is, everyone around us may be grieving as well, and without a sign around their neck, sometimes grief doesn’t show on the surface.
With the understanding that you never know who is grieving around you, here are a few reminders about grief:
1. Grief is tricky. It’s often hidden, so be kind. Sometimes a smile or words of encouragement can go a long way in helping someone get through their day. Go out of your way to be thoughtful of others…because you just never know.
2. Grieving is lonely. Be the friend that reaches out. It’s hard to know what will be the right thing to say because we’re all afraid we might say the wrong thing. Yet, when you’re grieving, having that outlet in a friend can be healing. Odds are that you remember exactly who it was that reached out to you when you were in a similar situation. Who talked to you when you needed it most? Who sat with you and listened? Who did something without being asked?
3. Grief isn’t clear cut. You can feel sad at a distance. If someone you knew as an acquaintance passed away, you can still grieve. Many believe that it is only close friends or family members that “should” be grieving, but this mentality often undercuts the importance of the individual in all the lives they touched. Even if you knew them at a distance, you can still feel the pain of losing them in your life. And remember, you may be faced with the opposite situation as well. You may come into contact with individuals who were touched by the death of your close loved one. Even if they did not know them well, their grief is still valid. Recognize that they didn’t have to know the individual as well as you in order to feel pain for their loss.
Grief doesn’t have a calling card. It doesn’t stand up and announce when it’s going to visit or indicate to others when it’s arrived. Use that wisdom today when you step out of your home. The person right next to you could have the weight of grief on them, and you just don’t know it. Be kind and handle with care.