This piece of writing about grief that circulates from time to time is worth repeating if only for those who have not seen it, or who have found their circumstances irrevocably changed.
Please don’t ask me if I am over it yet.
I’ll never get over it.
Please don’t tell me she (he) is in a better place.
She’s (He’s) not here with me.
Please don’t say she (he) isn’t suffering anymore.
I haven’t come to terms with why she (he) had to suffer at all.
Please don’t tell me how you feel.
Unless you’ve lost someone in the same way.
Please don’t ask me if I feel better.
Bereavement isn’t a condition that clears up.
Please don’t tell me at least you had her (him) for so many years.
What year would you like your loved one to die?
Please don’t tell me God never gives us more than we can bear.
Please just say you are sorry.
Please just say you remember my loved one if you do.
Please mention my loved one’s name.
Please be patient with me when I am sad.
Please just let me be free to be my changing self.
Please just let me cry.
These words, I think, illustrate two very important features of bereavement.
First, that it is not something that people recover from. Rather it is a process of becoming. Becoming more familiar with a world that has profoundly changed and my moving to a place where the heart-ache is carried more easily and in a way that permits enjoyment of life again.
Secondly, it describes the fact that while people die and are physically absent…our relationship to them does not die. Children who have died continue to be a part of their families in ways that continue to evolve over our lifetime. They remain loved ones that families want to talk about, whose stories they will continue to want to share with others and with whom they will maintain a deep and abiding eternal connection.