A few blog posts ago I shared what I learned about being a caregiver. Now I'm going to share with you after reflecting after my mom passed away what I wish that someone told me about grief.
1. Every death is sudden. It doesn't matter whether if you know that it's coming because a fatal disease or not.
2. Most of the grieving you experience is before your loved one passes away. In my case I was grieving the loss of my mom while she was still living because of dementia.
3. The first year of losing someone is the worst. I'm still not looking forward to the holidays without my mom. The first Thanksgiving, The first Christmas etc.
4. The last days of your loved one will playback in your life like a video. I will always remember clearly the rapid decline the last two days before my mom's passing.
5. The grief process will bring out the best and the worst of people so be prepared for it.
6. Losing someone changes you. I personally feel a void in my heart that will never be filled again.
7. Grief is grief and a loss is loss no matter if someone lived a day or years. I would prefer that someone just say, I am sorry for your loss. How are you doing?
8. After the funeral when everyone goes home and the phone stops ringing it will hit you like a ton of bricks. This is my new reality my loved one is gone.
9.Grief triggers comes when you least expect it. You could be going to lunch or in a grocery store when you are reminded by something you did with your loved one and a wave of emotion will hit you.
10.People who said,” If you need anything, anything at all, just let me know” are able to back that up with action. That doesn’t mean they don’t care
11.Well-meaning people say ridiculous things. For example, “She lived a long life” Seriously?
12.Grief is exhausting. While it’s impossible to grieve 24/7, designating specific time alone can help. I actually found that taking time off work to rest was helpful.
13. Some things words cannot fix. When your heart has been shattered, a warm hug can be more comforting than a thousand words.
14.It is OK to always miss the person you have lost. “Closure is for bank accounts, not for love accounts.”
15.Grief is a consequence of love, and love motivates. You can live again, for those still in your life, for a purpose to help those who may right now be suffering as you did. In my case, I will continue to share my journey whether in print or in person to continue to advocate for a cure for dementia in memory of my mom.
Now I know that there are so many more things about grief outside of this list.
What do you wish someone told you about grief? Feel free to share yours in the comments below.