Do you shy away from grief? Would you cross the road rather than comfort someone who has lost a loved one? Do you wonder what to say? Does seeing someone mourn make you uncomfortable?
I do agree that it is very hard to watch someone hurting. Since young Daniel died I have seen up close the pain of a mother who has lost a child. I have watched her mourn on a few occasions, as the loss of Daniel spills over. However mostly I have watched her dig deep, put her grief to one side, and continue to support her children through this life changing event. Her strength has been extraordinary.
I am not the only one who is there for my friend. There are others around her and her family, doing their helpless best to comfort and support them. We muddle along doing what little we can, but almost daily we feel helpless.
As those of you who read my blog regularly know, I was dreading last Friday night. It was a big night in our local GAA club in memory of Daniel. It was the final of the Rebel óg under 12 league. I was not looking forward to watching boys like Daniel running around, playing the game he loved. Boys of twelve. The age Dan was when he was told he had leukemia. The age he was when he played his last game.
However the night was fantastic. People came to the pitch in droves. The local pipe band marched the boys onto the pitch, and there was a wonderful air of occasion. Sadly our team, who had luckily made the final, lost, but only by a few points.
As we left the sidelines and entered the pitch for the presentation I looked around. There were quite literally hundreds of people milling around. As Daniels parents stood together the crowd gathered in a circle around them. It struck me how many who were not actually family or close friends had turned up. So many who had come to the club to show this family, by their presence, that they had not forgotten Daniel, and to show their support. As they gathered around them last night it was as if they collectively were reaching out and carrying Dans family, helping them through.
Daniels mom has often said to me, that these occasions remembering Daniel are not easy, but that it would be harder if these days stopped, and Daniel was forgotten. Today as I remember Friday night I am so pleased. I know my friend will be delighted at how well it all went, how lovely it was to remember Daniel in a way he himself would have loved, and to have been supported by so many.
In our lives we often shy away from awkward situations. When a bereavement happens many do not know what to do. What should they say? As time goes by they wonder should they speak of the loved one who died, or is that just upsetting the family? There are not many families who have the level of support Daniels family do. Others have lost children, and are hurting desperately. For them there are no memorial events, no occasions for them to know that others know they are in pain, and that their loved one is not forgotten.
I have learned many lessons on grief this year and one of them is, that remembering someones loved one is so important, and acknowledging their loss equally so. We do not need to do it in our hundreds, but we do need to be do it. To take the time to reach out to those who are mourning, and to let them know that we have not forgotten, that we do still care, and we know they still hurt.
Do not be afraid of grief. Your words or deeds can make a really big difference to someone who is already hurting so much.
photo credit: katerha via photopin cc
23 thoughts on “You do make a difference.”
Grief is a part of life. A crappy part of life, but it’s there all the same. The best antidote is a good friend.
Yes. However not everyone is comfortable dealing with it and watching others in pain. A friend is the best antidote to most things aren’t they, we’d be lost without them.
Yes we would, I have a hard time understanding those who have difficulty showing empathy. Not as a judgement on those people, just as it is, and just as I’ve said it- I don’t understand. When someone is grieving and you can remember a time when you were grieving and needed human contact and understanding, my reaction would immediately be to give love and try to alleviate their pain.
Not everyone wants my kind of understanding, either. some people don’t want a hug, some people want to be left alone. Perhaps that’s why some people are uncomfortable giving comfort?
Thank you for this, Tric. I have been awkwardly silent in the presence of my friends who lost a little daughter two years ago. You remind me that I need to put my own awkwardness aside and reach out to them.
That is a difficult situation. For what it’s worth you have often said, just the right thing here online when commenting. I think your friends would really appreciate it.
I know. And yet, in the moment, I often find myself tongue tied.
Speak from the heart and you’ll do just fine. It is our head who messes with us.
yes, tric, yes. you have it exactly right.
It is not something that comes easy to many, but how can we upset someone any more than they already are. Thanks Beth.
Heard. Understood. Respected. And appreciated.
Thank you Eric.
This is beautiful, Tric. I learned last year that sometimes just being there and listening is a wonderful thing to do.
Yes and the benefits are mutual. It is for some however a very difficult subject to discuss. Your friend was lucky to have you.
I often wonder if people I know avoid me because of their awkwardness toward grief. Your words of condolences are always appreciated by those of us in mourning, and it shows respect not only for the living person, but the deceased person as well, knowing that “you” have not forgotten them.
I thought about you as I wrote this post, as you are so recently bereaved. It is not easy Deb, I sympathise with you and hope you don’t feel too alone.
(did you delete your blog?) You can use the contact me if you don’t wish to publish a reply.
I have not deleted it. I assumed you were behind on reading or gave up on me. I haven’t been writing as much, but just did one yesterday. 😉
I was behind but when I clicked on your ‘Deb’ gravatar, I only got to your ‘about’ page and there were no other blog posts to view anywhere. However I’ve just clicked on this one and it’s working, so off I go to see how your doing.
You were screaming the last time I read! x
Haha!! Still screaming!
This is all so true. It’s one reason I post on Facebook and write my blog – to stay connected with an ever growing community, so that Elizabeth is remembered by many, and so that others know that grief is a process, and not one to hide away or rush through. Thank you for this post Tric.
Yes it is lovely to see Elizabeth remembered in your writing and on facebook. I am getting used to Dan being a part of my blog, even though I am still angry that a young vibrant boy is now just a name on a blog.
I’m glad it went so well. I can imagine how hard it must be to watch other young boys running around playing Daniel’s game. I think grief is easier (easier isn’t the best word) when you’re surrounded by family and people who know what you’re going through.
I agree. It doesn’t change the awful pain my friend lives with every day, but it is definitely good that she has people who understand and listen and also to remember. It is still a bit hard to believe it really happened though so I can only imagine what his family feel.
Grief trudges the wound, crushing at its core, tearing its edges and scabs. In time, it will melt and mellow, leaving behind memories like shells after the tide.
Your post touched my heart.