|—||Lemony Snicket, Horseradish (via 13neighbors)|
I wrote this letter to a friend after her friends brother had passed away.
Today I was reminded of it, and thought maybe someone might benefit from it.
Ok, so I rambled on for a long time, and this is my conclusion.
The ramblings are below, but you can skim through them if you like.
But in conclusion:
The most important thing she needs to know is that you are there and you care.
That you wont get tired of listening to her stories or her crying or her silence.
That you care enough to phone, even if you set a reminder on your phone and call once a week, it means a lot.
That you have time for her.
Ask questions, make jokes, go for walks.
If you have coffee, don’t go out unless she wants to, I’m much faker in a restaurant or coffee shop than I am in your or my home.
Remember this is a first for both of you, you don’t know what she needs to hear, but she doesn’t know either.
Don’t cook her lasagna or quiche (she probably got 100 of those after the funeral) invite her for stir-fry or something.
Encourage her to talk to someone, I went to a counselor 8 or 9 months later, but its just rad talking to someone who doesn’t expect anything from you (like you think your mates do). It can be a psychologist, a trauma counselor (I have a great lady if you want her number) or someone who is willing to give of their time (I’m pretty available).
Ok, know you have read the conclusion, below is all the theories, thoughts and ramblings.
Here are some thoughts some might just be random, but just writing them so that you get some kind of idea of what might be going on in her head.
I think we want to talk about, I think that its good for us to talk about him, talk about the good times, talk about the things that irritated us about him… in talking about him we let him live on in our memories.
Sometimes we’ll laugh, sometimes we’ll cry, sometimes silence will follow a story. Its ok. And I think from my friends side I’m stoked when they bring him up, because sometimes I feel like “AH, I’m bringing it up again, they must be so over this” and sometimes I don’t feel like talking about him, but then Ill change the subject.
And you don’t always need to be direct in question asking “how are you feeling about your brothers death?” but just making sure that she knows that you want to listen and chat.
Also, just as much as you have no idea what to say, she has no idea what she wants to hear or needs to hear, this is a first time thing for both of you!!!
Sometimes distraction is good, and sometimes its not so good. I feel like for me it’s very up and down, some days I’m super bleak, and other days everything is fine.
Writing down my thoughts helped.
And I’ve even emailed a couple of them to mates just so they know where I’m at, or something that helps them understand where I’m at.
Knowing that people are there for you. And are happy to Skype you for an hour when all you do is ugly cry the whole conversation (ask Sarah, she experienced a lot of this)
But seriously, so many people said, call me anytime, and I knew they meant it, but sometimes them calling me was actually what I needed. Just listen to your instinct when it says you should call, you should call.
I made a phone calls list, so I didn’t forget who I could call.
If he was saved, encourage her with scripture about a future and a hope, Stokes sent me Romans 15.13 and it blew my mind.
But don’t send cheesy scripture, she probably doesn’t want to hear “God works all things to the good of those who love him” now is not the time. And every other Christian has probably told her that.
Let her be angry, it’s important. I think there are 3 ways of expressing anger, hitting, kicking and screaming. Its ok to do it, you have to. Throw stuff, hit stuff, shout at God, shout at a tree.
Jess once offered to go into the forest to throw stuff with me, on the day when I went to throw stuff, she couldn’t come, but I found some weird satisfaction in throwing stuff. And knowing that she had kind of endorsed it made me feel like it was ok.
So, while writing this I’m going through my “journal thing” and read something I wrote down about a month later “sometimes I am getting upset over things that aren’t important, just because its easier to get upset over those things rather than pay attention to the heart”
Also just knowing that its okay to feel the way you feel when you feel it, I know sometimes we need to put on a brave face, but we cant control how we are going to feel and when we are going to feel it, but we must let those emotions carry themselves out.
“Give yourself the grace to feel what you need to feel.
Read this in my journal “how your heart can ache so much and you can just hide it over and over. And when people ask you how you are you just lie and say you’re fine but you’re not and you want to be fine but you want people to know that you aren’t.”
Just some things that have rung true for me, in reading them.
I think that grief is something very personal and everyone experiences it differently because everyone has lost a unique relationship.
There is a blog I like, its just random quotes and stuff about grief, but really helpful to know other people feel the same as I do.
Also I definitely recommend reading C.S Lewis a grief observed, it really was just insightful into the fact that the way I was feeling was ok and pretty normal.
And I’m a big Lewis fan
These two extracts kind of ring true in terms of how I feel when I see people who I haven’t seen since my boet died.
This is an extract from CS Lewis A grief observed
“An odd by-product of my loss is that I’m aware of being an embarrassment to everyone I meet. At work, at the club, in the street, I see people, as they approach me, trying to make up their minds whether they’ll ‘say something about it’ or not. I hate it if they do, and if they don’t. Some funk it altogether. R. has been avoiding me for a week. I like best the well brought-up young men, almost boys, who walk up to me as if I were a dentist, turn very red, get it over, and then edge away to the bar as quickly as they decently can. Perhaps the bereaved ought to be isolated in special settlements like lepers.”
This is an extract from a story of a parent in a grocery store
“No, the terror of the supermarket wasn’t the memories so much; it was all those other people. The ones shopping who would make eye contact.
Did they know? Did they know that the one of the most special people in the world to me had been taken away? Did they know I was one fleeting memory away from flowing tears and crippling grief? Were they trying to put the face with the newspaper article they read, or were they one of the thousands at his vigil? Did their kid play football too, or had, or wanted to? Had they seen us around school? Church? The theater? Baseball? Softball? Work? Had they lost a child? A spouse? Parent? Sibling? Dog? Hamster?
And when that tiny wave of recognition clicks on their face, what then? Were they going to say something? Oh God, I hoped they wouldn’t say something, but if they had to, please make it short and sweet.
Or maybe worse yet, they didn’t know. How dare them? How dare they stand there and not throw their arms out and wrap me up? No matter how much it made my skin crawl to hug someone again at that exact moment, how dare they not know, and not try? Didn’t you read the newspaper? Watch the TV news?
The greatest little boy that ever walked the face of this planet has died. My little boy. How dare they not know that!?!
And that was just the other customers. The employees all knew my son. He always said “Hi.” He was one of those polite kids who came to the bakery, asked for a cookie, and said thank you when he got one. When I saw the lady in the bakery and she asked how I was I couldn’t tell if she knew or not. I wanted to tell her. But I figured I was finally past the “Let me tell you what happened and make you feel bad because I really feel like dying and I can think of nothing I want more right now than to make you feel like dying too” stage.
I just nodded and replied with “Hanging in there.” She nodded.”
Another Lewis quote:
“What is grief compared with physical pain? Whatever fools may say, the body can suffer twenty times more than the mind. The mind has always some power of evasion. At worst, the unbearable thought only comes back and back, but the physical pain can be absolutely continuous. Grief is like a bomber circling round and dropping its bombs each time the circle brings it overhead; physical pain is like the steady barrage on a trench in World War One, hours of it with no let-up for a moment. Thought is never static; pain often is.”
I don’t know my friend, hope this has been a little helpful
|—||2 Peter 1:20, 21 NIV|
Some locations I’ve had the privilege of shooting in over the last week.
Loving Franschhoek, South Africa.
LORELAI: Hello Gran, good to see you.
TRIX: You’re well?
LORELAI: I’m well.
TRIX: You’re working?
LORELAI: I’m working.
TRIX: You’re single?
LORELAI: I’m single.
TRIX: By choice, or do you scare the men with your independence?
LORELAI: Actually, I scare them with my Minnie Pearl impression.