Recently I went to a nearby small town art fair, which was a delightful way to spend a nice Saturday in the summer. While walking down the side walk of this small town, I spotted this sign in front of a restaurant. I loved it because it spoke so much to me about how we all live our lives.
Life is so full things we “should do”
I started to think about all the things in life that we are supposed to do, or should do and how they are done in cultural or societal defined ways. It was the start of a great conversation with my friend and we laughed about things that we still do because it is supposedly the best way, tried and true way or my favorite – the way something always has been done.
Sometimes we need to break the mold
If you are reading this blog it is because you are on a grief journey so I will relate some of the ‘should dos’ that stand out for me and I wonder if we can change this standard way of thinking…
- When you go over to someone’s house to express your sympathy you bring the standard green jello molded salad in your dish with your name taped to the bottom of the dish. I think everyone should stop with the jello and in fact stop with all the food in general unless it is obvious after visiting with the family that you could help by bringing food.
- Making the standard comments to someone grieving a loss such as, “Sorry”, “He/She lived a good life”, “They’re in a better place now”, “You’ll find someone else”, – you’ve heard these right? I might suggest those of us who have experienced loss change and others perhaps will follow. How about this type of greeting, “I’m so sorry for your loss, I can’t possibly imagine how you are feeling right now, but know that I care and will be calling you next week.”
- Don’t make any drastic decisions for two years after your spouse died. This isn’t always practical or realistic. I believe however, that sometimes we need to make the most judicious decision regardless of what others think.
- You should remove all the personal belongings of the person who died so as to not remind you of the painful loss all the time. Now how dumb is that, having the memories of our loved ones through a picture or personal belonging can remind us of how much we loved that person. That does not mean we are building a personal shrine, but honoring the memory with momentos is great.
Live life now is a great motto
I think the more we live life now, the more we savor what it means to truly live. Doing something because it’s always been done a certain way is no reason.
Life can be messy, life can be complicated at times and life can be filled with uncertainty. Often those grieving loss don’t know what to do without the physical presence of their loved one, they become paralyzed in the past and don’t know how to move forward and live life again. But life has no guarantees, and the magic is in the everyday moments. Pay attention, there are miracles all around you, you just have to look because they are there.
You have gifts and talents that the world is waiting for and now is the time to set some priorities and decide how will I live? I encourage the newly bereaved to take small steps, one action a day or week toward something positive in your life is better than simply telling yourself you will be ready soon. Life can be so fleeting and I think the best way to honor the memory of our loved ones is to keep living it!
“Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves come when life seems most challenging.”- Joseph Campbell
Lessons learned from death.