20 Mar Slice of Life: What is a Normal Grief Reaction?
I received this from the hospice that cared for my mom.
It is a list of the type of grief reactions to expect. I agree there is no “right way” to grieve, but it strikes me that there is nothing positive to expect on this list. There are no good feelings one might feel. What if the list included:
Feelings of appreciation
Moments of joy
Feelings of comfort
Laughing at unexpected times
Seeing the world through a new lens
Feeling your loved ones presence all the time
Touched by the kindness of others
Surrounded by people who care
More food than you know what to do with
Random acts of thoughtfulness
Seeing beauty in everything
Strength you never knew you had
Wanting to make the most of every moment
I am not suggesting that the responses on their list are wrong or inaccurate, but if those are the only things you expect you might miss some other responses you might encounter. Grief is complicated and intense. Tennyson said, “ Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” I think these words are painfully true. The pain is both joyous and sorrowful. The experience is both lonely and comforting. Grief is the loss of one and the support of so many others. It is normal to feel all those responses on the list, but if we keep our eyes out for some of these others as well, we might just experience them. Feeling the joy can help you balance the feeling of sorrow.
My mom always taught me to look at the bright side of things… I think she would add some of these other possible responses to the list. What would you add?
Thank you to Stacey, Tara, Dana, Betsy, Anna, Beth, Kathleen, and Deb for this space for us to share our stories each day in March. Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers to read more Slice of Life posts and consider joining this community.