I recently heard an experienced counselor talking about grief and what she said was insightful. When a kid loses a pet what do the parents say? “Oh, it will be ok. You can get another dog or cat.” Or when you break up with your girlfriend or boyfriend, what do they say? “There are more fish in the sea.” Meaning that you can find another person to date. In an effort to help our kids, we don’t allow them the opportunity to grieve. This pet or that boyfriend are easily replaced is the message. In essences we are encouraging them not to care. When a loved pet leaves there should be a time of pain. When you are rejected or choose to stop dating someone, there is a loss. Grieve, cry, rant, feel the pain, it’s normal and necessary.
We have a tendency to minimize the grieving process, with our kids and with other adults. Over the years I’ve seen several people lose parents, spouses and kids. To the outside world, 2 weeks after the funeral it seems like everything is fine. It’s not. When someone suffers the pain of losing a dear person in their lives, the grieving will go on for years. Don’t try to tell them to get over it with your actions or words. “You can cry but not for long.” The pain is real, palatable and reinvigorated by memories.
My father died many years ago but sometimes around the time of his death, I get emotional. I’m not sorry for that in any way. I absolutely LOVED that man so why shouldn’t I feel it? When I smell someone wearing my Dad’s cologne, memories fill my head and I grieve. The love that I had for him still runs down my cheek occasionally.
I’ve seen some misguided people say or act like it is unspiritual to grieve for long because after all they are in heaven now. That’s just crazy talk. You are grieving your loss NOT the loved one’s gain.
Typically we think of King David as a young shepherd, a powerful king or a poignant writer. In 2 Samuel 13 David is a grieving parent. His son, Absalom killed another one of his boys, Amnon. David cried publicly and privately taking years to mourn his loss.
As he finished speaking, the king’s sons came in, wailing loudly. The king, too, and all his attendants wept very bitterly. Absalom fled and went to Talmai son of Ammihud, the king of Geshur. But King David mourned many days for his son. After Absalom fled and went to Geshur, he stayed there three years. And King David longed to go to Absalom, for he was consoled concerning Amnon’s death.
The important point that I want to get across is to allow yourself and others time to mourn. Minimizing their mourning is like minimizing their love. You can cry today and 10 years from now because you lost your favorite grandpa, or your Mom, or your favorite dog. I’ve noticed that people tend to touch or hug when they are grieving. Hug someone who might be hurting today.