Maybe look a little closer?

If you met me today you would, as always, be greeted by a smile and a loud and cheery “Hi how are ye?”. I would appear to be in great form and we would chat about this and that and enjoy a good laugh. But as you walk away, my smile would disappear and if you looked closely you would see a different me.

For today my heart is heavy. Today is the beginning of Irelands state exams. Thousands of young students will spend the next two weeks doing their Junior and Leaving Certificates. We will see them streaming in and out of schools which would otherwise be closed. We will pass them and wonder did they have a good day, but no matter how hard we look and wish, one will be missing.

Today Daniel should have been sitting his Junior Cert. He should have driven his parents mad over the past few weeks by his ‘relaxed’ attitude. He should have headed off this morning pretending he is not one bit bothered, even if deep down he might have been, and last night as I delivered cards to his sister and cousins I should have had one for him.

Grief is a strange one. In the early days it is obvious, as tears are shed and the mood is low. This is the face of grief which is expected, and considered ‘normal’. As time ticks by it moves at a different speed to those who are not grieving. They can look at a calendar and think “It’s been a year”. They see those left behind laughing and living and are grateful that they are ‘getting over it’.

They see what they want to see.

For behind the scenes, for all who have experienced grief, are the many days filled with Oscar winning performances, where they hide their sadness, in order to appear ‘normal’.

Today is such a day for all who knew Daniel. For his friends who will walk into school without him, for his sister and cousins who will have one less beside them leaving for school, and for his mum and dad, aunts and god mother who will collect the other students after their exams each day and try not to look at the empty seat in the car.

Today as I walked around my village, I wondered at those I passed. How many more were hurting, missing parents, partners, siblings or friends. How many more smiled and laughed with heavy hearts?

Those who grieve belong to a secret club of many.

Perhaps today those of you who are not grieving will take a moment to acknowledge a friend who has lost someone. Maybe ask them how they are? Let them know you have not forgotten their loss, and that it is okay for them to continue to grieve. Do not fear you will cause them pain, for they are already in pain, you are just not seeing it.

Nothing you can say or do will not take away that pain, but you just might make today a little bit easier.

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34 thoughts on “Maybe look a little closer?

  1. Oh Tric, thank you for writing this post. It has been ten years since we lost our middle son. Today, it is no easier to face the day without him than it was the day he died. We’ve just learned to live with the pain, his absence, and the huge hole in our family. When people say they don’t know what to say, I always answer, “there are no words”. How can their ever be words. When people say, it’s been so many days, weeks, months, years, you should be over it by now. I ask them how long would it take them to get over losing their son/daughter. For those who ask what they can do, I say talk to me about him. Please don’t forget him. Greg is in my heart always and forever, and no, I will never get over losing him. Thinking of you and sending hugs to you, my dear friend.

    1. My sympathies to you on losing your son, Greg. I lost my Dad close to thirty years ago and miss him greatly still, but having watched my friend lose Daniel and another lose their beautiful small boy I have learned that like you they want others to talk of them, to remember them and to laugh and cry as they remember. To know others have not forgotten is so important. I do hope you have many around you who are also remembering and missing your son Greg.
      Thanks for the hugs, it was a sad day especially knowing how hard it was for my friend and Danny’s family. I’m sure you have had many such a day. x

  2. Grief comes in waves as giant milestones and small connections continually remind us of our losses. I remember when I joined the “club.” Funny that we used the exact same word. There are so many that have lost someone dear. My heart goes out to you and Greg’s family and all the other families that carry around holes in their hearts.

    1. There are so many in this club, but it is amazing how many forget that it is okay to miss their loved one even after many years, or who are uncomfortable by others moments of sadness.

  3. A beautiful post. Thank you. It is so comforting when someone understands. The people who ministered to me the most when I lost my husband were two couples who had lost sons.

  4. You have stated this beautifully. There is always an empty chair at the table during special occasions, and I have started placing a candle at that spot in memory of Mike, the head of our family, whether in this world or not. Yes, I cry often, but always alone now. In front of people I manage to paint on that plastic smile. The fact that he is gone is like a pink elephant on the room. Everyone sees it, but nobody acknowledges it. There are some people who I know I can talk to about him; and others who I can’t. Your post is right on point. Thank you!

    1. I can only imagine how tiring it is to pretend so much. I’m glad you have some you can share your memories with and also your grief. Day by day Deb. x

  5. 7 years ago, on June 3rd, my son died 4 days before his 18th birthday and 10 days after graduating from high school – bacterial meningitis –

    I still struggle on this day – I try to understand my own healing process and to navigate the anniversary each year just a tad better than I did last year – –

    But I still struggle so on this day – no matter how many layers have been healed, no matter how much I logically/rationally understand the power my own mind has over the date’s meaning, I still succumb to my heart every year –

    I grieve, I yearn, I wish for the world to stop, for just one day, to give me a moment to catch up and stay on track with my internal wishes and what is recognized by the world… 🙂

    None of which is feasible or realistic – every moment, of every day, someone in the world is grieving for their lost loved one – and if the world stopped every anniversary, for each one, well, the world would grind to a permanent halt – 🙂

    But wanted to say thank you so very, very much for sharing –

    Please know the friends and family of Daniel – who may only ever be known to me as those who loved and lost on a shared calendar date…

    You are all forever in my heart and prayers every June 3rd, as “And please comfort/bless Daniel’s Loved One’s who share this day of loss with me – may we each find comfort in shared sorrow and may we each move forward as best we can – ”

    We may never have anything more in common that our shared love of those who departed on the same day – BUT, wanted you to know, there is someone else who will remember Daniel’s name and remember those who loved him and lost, and to let you know, you made and Daniel made a huge difference, for me, today –

    Thank you. 🙂

  6. Reblogged this on The Good, Bad and Ludicrous and commented:
    Sharing with you the beautiful words of one who I most likely would have never met in person or known about if not for the community here – nor ever known we share a date of grief in common had they not written – whose words were exactly what I needed so very much to hear today – –

    Often, those who choose to write/share in this community are such a huge part of providing what I never knew I always wanted/needed – 🙂

    Thanks to all those who take such wonderful, good care of me, whether they know it, intended it or not – simply by posting. 🙂

    You are so very appreciated! 🙂

    1. I am so very sorry to read of your loss and pain. I cannot for a minute imagine the forever of losing a child. What was your sons name, (no problem if you don’t wish to print it) I’d like to remember him by name.
      Thank you for the reblog too.x

    1. I hate to see the way those who do not understand expect others to get over it within a relatively short period of time, when in fact no one who ever loved and lost can ever ‘get over it’. Thank you.

      1. Tric, I’m very much in your camp on this but I never cease to be amazed by the extent of the differences in how people react over time to the death of a loved one.
        One of the worst double binds is the comment: ‘You couldn’t have wanted him/her to go on suffering.’ Obviously not. However, this overrules the key point that one didn’t want him/her to get ill in the first place.
        Hugs, j

  7. Grief is such a private thing for so many people, but I think it would be easier to be open about it. I myself struggle to cry openly.
    Thinking of you today.

    1. I am a super crier. I could cry enough for both of us, with very little prompting. At funerals I am like the chief mourner, but I think there comes a time when others say move on. How could anyone who lost a child or partner or anyone they truly loved ever move on?
      Thank you.

  8. Thinking of everyone I know who has lost someone…as you say, there are no words. My best friend lost her son in a car accident the day after his graduation. We were all at his party, and he had a great future ahead of him…A warm hearted young man who was elected the most considerate and helpful comrade in school his last year. He had those loving eyes and always a word of interest in everyone surrounding him. I saw him only a couple of days old and I saw him graduate with the whole world waiting for him to explore..
    He was not my son, but the son of my best friend, and I felt I knew him so well. His parents still struggle that day every year, and they struggle to be able to see new happy students every summer. His brother´s name is Daniel.

    1. I was so sad reading your comment. How awful to see a child cut down, just when life should have been beginning for him. Life is so cruel, and some have such a hard road.
      I know how hard it is to watch a friend go through so much. At least your friend had you.
      What a coincindence his brothers name being Daniel.

  9. Grief never goes away entirely. At times it gets lighter. Sometimes even for months or years. Then all of the sudden…Wham! There it is again, just like it felt at the very beginning. Nope. Loss never stops hurting, it just hurts less before it hurts more and then less and more in an endless cycle. With children, it’s worse. Wondering how their hair color would have changed by now. What would their taste in clothes be like today? What would their smile look like? Their hug feel like? And their tears…the happy ones and the sad ones…how would it feel to you looking in on their tears?

    It never stops. And no one ever knows how much you are hurting inside due to that loss because we all grieve in different ways and at different times.

  10. Oh Tric, such a sad time. Thinking of you and everyone who knew Daniel. And thinking of those who should have children sitting their exams this week. You are in my thoughts and prayers this evening xxx

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