There is no right or wrong way to deal with grief. It strikes each of us differently, and when it does, it steals all of our energy and concentration. People who care try to find ways to make us feel better. Perhaps they have forgotten that there is no way to make us feel better, there are no magic words that will make the pain go away. We don’t get through grief, or over it — we simply find ways to carry it and still move forward.
It doesn’t get better, but we do get stronger. At first it takes all that we have to push from one breath to the next, and then we take a step, and another step. Eventually we find a way to make it from moment to moment, and then day to day. We find a way to go on, and someday we find room in our hearts to feel again. But there is no rushing it — no set time that we can look forward to and say, “There. On that day I will quit feeling the pain. On that day I will be okay.”
I just wrote a poem about grief, and I’m thinking about posting it. Not for those who are dealing with grief — they already know what it’s like to stand in the midst of a storm that no one else seems to be able to see or even believe is real. I want to help them understand that sometimes people struggling with grief don’t need to be cheered up; they need someone to silently stand with them and just be there. They need someone to understand that what they are feeling is real, and that they are not alone.
If you find yourself thinking, “I want to do something to help, but I don’t know what to say,” then do something. You don’t have to say anything, or maybe the best thing you can say is, “I don’t know what to say.” Sometimes all we can do is care — but maybe that’s exactly what’s needed.