You know they want to say something.

You can sense they are hurting and that the words they want to say are hurting them by staying inside.

You want to say something.  You want to have the right words and say them with the right voice to invite them to say what they want to say.

You want them to feel what they are feelingl, while at the same time wanting to take away their pain.

Its a conundrum.


You would think that with my own personal experience that I would be able to do just that.  You would think that with my training in grief and loss, that I would be prepared to do just that.  Maybe you don’t think that, but I do.

I should know.  I should be able to.  I should be the one with the combination of nouns, pronouns, verbs and other language tools to unlock someone else’s stuck words.

Because I should know.


How Grief Feels

Grief is the normal and natural reaction to loss. It is marked by conflicting emotions that result from the change in a familiar pattern of behavior. But from the standpoint of the grieving person, this is how grief may feel. Grief is the feeling of reaching out for someone who has always been there, only to find when we need them one more time, they are no longer there. Adapting to the absence of a loved one is difficult enough. But the first holiday season, with its constant reminders of holiday joy and tradition, can be especially painful.At the Grief Recovery Institute we’ve talked with thousands of people who’ve told us they wished they could jump from late October right to mid-January. We’ve heard the same sentiment from people enduring their first holiday season following a divorce. It’s normal to worry that you won’t be able to handle the pain of that first holiday season, whether the missing loved one is a spouse, parent, grandparent, sibling, or child. You may even think you’d rather skip holiday gatherings. Those feelings and fears are not illogical or irrational. They represent a normal, healthy range of emotions about painful loss and our society’s limited ability to talk openly and honestly about grief.

The Grief Recovery Method Blog, “Uh Oh Its that time again.  Grief and the Holidays”

Whether it is the first, second or the upteenth year without your loved one, the holidays can be a challenging and emotional time.

And I agree and concur that society has created normalcy around not talking about it, about not broaching the subject.  Those of us who have experienced loss may also perpetuate that taboo as well.

Because it may not feel safe to express the words that we are holding inside, or not feel safe to invite another to release the words they are holding within.

We may feel that by saying nothing is safer and that we are being kind and compassionate by not saying the words or hearing theirs.


The Impasse

It would be perfectly understandable, and socially acceptable to keep those words stuck.  To not ask or invite the person who you feel is holding those words inside to share.

Or you can take a deep breath and ask them, “Are you okay?”, and be ready and open to listen.

You get to choose.

And so do they.  They get to choose whether to share how they are feeling, they get to choose to decline.

 

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