Thursday, February 7, 2019

Grief, Forever!

I just wanted to clarify after a recent post.
(CLICK HERE TO SEE POST. Opens in a new window.)

Having gotten some new insight into what it is like to live with Dementia/ Alzheimer's, and feeling badly about some of my past behaviors with Gregory because of having not known what I now know, I wrote that, "I will probably grieve until I die."

My niece, who loves me dearly and whom I love dearly in return, send a comment which said, "Heavy.  Grieve forever? ☹️ I hope you can forgive yourself someday.  Greg has."

She and I talked about this on the telephone after I had given it some thought. I thank her for enabling me to write this!

I tried to explain that I have forgiven myself for the most part but when something new comes up, it brings along the next round of grief and therefore the next round of forgiving.

But more importantly, I really do believe that I will grieve Gregory's death for the rest of my life. I will probably love him longer than that if I am correct in my thoughts of the afterlife!

It is NOT like the traditional wedding ceremony says, "Until death do you part." It goes on and on, even after death.


I have previously addressed the idea behind the bland statement, "Grief gets easier." My theory is that because I continue to live (and Gregory does not continue on this physical plane) I continue to grow and become larger in my understanding of life and death. (Not all people are able to do this for themselves!) 

Because I am larger in my understanding of what it means to me to be alive, the grief I carry for Gregory is proportionately smaller! It becomes smaller if only because it is fixed in time and does not continue to grow the way it used to grow when Gregory was alive.

In one way the good times are fixed and get smaller when compared to the continued good times I experience without him. Also the difficult times have ended when every day there were new losses to grieve and to anticipate so they are fixed as well.

Every now and then something triggers a return of grief: a song, a place we visited, a favorite restaurant, a season, holiday, birthday, etc. For a brief period of time (and the time lengths vary with time as well as in intensity) the growth I have made in the past, and "being larger" quickly unravels and I am back to where I was when that memory was fixed in my experience.

Because I no longer exist at that moment, after the brief period of grief's return, I am able to quickly return to my new, larger, current moment in time and continue on. Recognizing the grief and sitting with it helps that brief period of time resolve itself more quickly, sometimes with greater understanding, and allows that memory to continue as either a good one or if a difficult one which has become a better one!

A few other soundbites:

I have learned to carry GRIEF on one shoulder while at the same time carrying JOY on my other shoulder. 

I no longer fear GRIEF, I have learned to sit with it as a FRIEND with a message.

What would it mean about Gregory's and my relationship if there was no GRIEF?

Never tell someone else HOW to GRIEVE or WHEN to stop GRIEVING. 

GRIEF is a very individual activity.

The most you can do to support a loved one with their GRIEF, is to sit there with them quietly. Allow them to TALK if they want to, allow them to CRY if they want to, allow them to REMEMBER if they want to. HUG them if you ask and they agree. You may speak when asked to join the conversation but usually, a conversation about GRIEF is between the person still alive and the person now deceased. 

If you share grief over the same person, it may be part of your conversation as well but you will have to get support when it is your turn. Do not add it "Me too!" to the conversation when it was initiated by the other person first.

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