A Stage of Grief

Published by Guy Taylor on

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

Last Updated on 2022-06-29 by Guy Taylor

Many of you will probably be thinking β€œwhy the heck is this guys very first blog about grief? Is he a saddo? He must be”. The short answer to that is no, I am not but I think it is a very important topic to raise. For those that are grieving and for those who have had the benefit of not yet having to grieve. Or simply to just get a brief understanding on how to deal with someone who is grieving, whether it be a work colleague, a friend or a family member.

Grief – What is it?

The definition of grief in dictionary.com defines as keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss; sharp sorrow; painful regret.
a cause or occasion of keen distress or sorrow.

Unfortunately throughout life many people will claim they know what grief is and unfortunately this sentiment will even come from specially trained individuals such as psychologists, psychiatrists and counsellors who specialise in grief. The truth is that not one single person knows what grief is due to the fact that for us all it is very different, grief is not the same for one of us.

There might be similar feelings but how do you describe to someone how you feel? How do you make someone feel what you are feeling without being cruel enough to bend an individual to your will? You can’t and you never will because those feelings are so very personal to you being the one who is grieving.

There is not one person in this world who knows what grief is and even if you may be suffering yourself that still does not make you an authority on what grief is due to its inherently personal nature for each and every one of us.

My Background On Grief.

On the 15th of December 2018 my mother passed away after fighting a very long series of recurring illnesses, from respiratory to kidney function but she was a very strong person, probably one of the most resilient souls I have ever known in my whole life. Both of my parents are so I like to think that I have inherited my resilience from both of my parents.

My mother was remarkably strong willed and probably one of the most caring and amazing people I have ever known. She is missed daily and I do not think there is one day that passes by where I do not think about her, not one moment at any of those times do I not get a lump in my throat. Yes I do shed tears and online I am not afraid to admit that but publicly I am possibly one of the biggest cowards to walk this planet when it comes to tears in front of people. I live in the UK, for those who do not know me and on a few occasions I have been walking down the High Street in the town I live and out of nowhere I will start thinking of my Mom and I become emotionally strained but because I am in public I will fight those tears with everything I have until I get home and I will go into my bedroom and break down. One of my favourite hobbies is to cook and so I can be cooking and randomly be hit by a moment of grief, or I can be reading something and out of nowhere be hit by nothing in particular. Or I could listening to the radio and one of her favourite pieces by Luciano Pavarotti, Nessun Dorma might come on or I can simply be reminded of a memory if I am simply taking a walk.

This is all a part of the grieving process, there is no magic formula. It affects us all in different ways at different times; some people might take longer to heal than others, others might take longer to get there than a parent or a sibling. One sibling could suffer more than the other on the loss of one of their parents. Some people even prefer to talk about it more than the other andΒ  just because we all grieve differently does not mean we are not grieving.

Many people out there think they are helping when they aren’t, they are in fact doing more damage, so I have compiled a list of things to not say to someone who is grieving

  • β€œCheer up, it’ll get better” – the person grieving has just lost a loved one, they do not need to hear a term like β€œcheer up, it’ll get better”, it’s grief, you can’t just go all β€œstiff upper lip”, it’s grief, they have just lost someone who was a part of their world – I for one describe having lost my mother as the universe having severed the spiritual umbilical cord.
  • “I know how you feel” – how can one possibly know what the other person might be feeling, there might be a minor understanding from John Doe about how Joe Bloggs is feeling but that is where we draw the line, for instance, I have no idea how my father feels at the loss of his soulmate who he was betrothed to for forty-six years, the saddest sentence I have ever got from my Dad was β€œI miss my best buddy” this broke me in two and I will never ever forget it as long as I live.
    • β€œHow are you doing?” Again, someone has just lost someone they loved, how do you think they are doing? Of course, this question is designed to help you get a better understanding of how someone is feeling but it really doesn’t help the person who is mourning so try by all means to avoid this question.
    • β€œThey are in a better place” – yeah, thanks, they aren’t suffering anymore and that I am truly grateful for but to be honest I do not want to hear that and nor does the other person who is mourning because every single day, for a while they would rather be able to pick up the phone for a chat just to hear their voice, just to hear the sound of their laugh, just to hear an β€œI love you” or β€œI am proud of you”. I think I have lost count how many times where all I have wanted to do is speak to my Mom but I, like many others have to live with the fact that as long as we are alive in this life we will never hear the voice of a passed parent, a passed sibling, a passed husband or wife. We have to live with this knowledge daily and for some people they live with that for the rest of their lives so saying something like β€œthey are in a better place” really does not help so please try avoid saying this, although it would be with the best of intentions, it’s just that in life sometimes the best of intentions can sometimes not be interpreted as such.

    The best thing you can do in a stage of grief, or any of the stages of grief is to just be there, sometimes just not to say a thing and when the individual who is grieving wants to be alone leave them to be on their own, never force an individual to speak about their feelings if they do not want and if they want you to hang around do so. A hug can mean so much more in times like this. If all they want to do is speak, let them, let them speak until their heart’s content, if all they want to do is cry, let them.
    It is a process that can take many years to work through for some people so let them heal in their own time, at their own pace.

    If you are wanting to know what to do just be there if they need, if they don’t need, don’t be.

    And to those who may be currently grieving I wish you peace and my sincere condolences on your loss.

    Disclaimer:Β I do not claim to be a grief counsellor or therapist, the above is merely from my own experiences throughout the whole grieving process, and of course those who are grieving at exactly the same time.Β 

    Categories: Blog