I wish there was a trick, a fast way to bust grief, but it seems the only way to get through it is to get through it. As THE WAY OF THE PEACEFUL WARRIOR says, the way out is the way through. John Bradshaw says, they that grieve well, live well. So why don’t we honor grieving? Our parents, our society and even 12 step programs imply that if you are hurting there is something wrong with you. “Quit feeling sorry for yourself. Be a man. Grow up, etc.” I guess people who have not made peace with their own pain cannot help other people with theirs. My friend Robert Burney says, when life craps on him, he is being fertilized. I like to think that when life hurts me, I am being tenderized.
Oscar Wilde put it like this, hearts were meant to be broken.
When I hurt I have 2 choices. I can avoid the pain at all costs, close down, get smaller and harder in an attempt to protect against future hurt. Or I can go through the pain and learn from it and get bigger, softer, more open. It is not easy for me to welcome pain. I have to get over the usual objections. “There must be something wrong with me. You did this to me. There must be something wrong with you. If I start crying, I will never stop. I can’t handle my pain. I’ve hurt enough, already, etc.” Lots of people refuse to deal with their pain. Maybe they don’t have the resources or the understanding to handle it. I don’t like either choice. This is an opportunity to learn compassion. Then there are the well intended people who try to help me with clichés. I need people who will listen and support me going through the process.
For me, it has to be OK to cry. Here come the objections again. “Don’t be a sissy, etc.” My throat gets tight. I have to consciously relax my throat and my jaw. Here I am, again, worrying about what other people think of me. Let go. Be present. Let the feelings wash over me. Sometimes I really hurt. Sometimes I am OK. Sometimes I am both. It sucks and it is beautiful. This is what it is like to be human. This is what it is like to be truly alive. And having had the experience, I can be just a little more understanding and supportive of other people.
My mom died 3am 17 July 2006. Yes, I was there and yes, I got to say Goodbye and no, she did not suffer.
A doctor with 15 years hospice experience says that the most important things to say to people are;
I forgive you.
Can you forgive me?
I love you.
He also recommends that you not wait until they are dying.
P.S. If they have already passed, you can still tell them in a prayer.