Grief Chronicles - To Say or Not to Say

My beautiful mother recently transitioned. This is the most devastating loss I have endured thus far. I rejoice knowing that she is free from pain and suffering and I will see her again someday. Still, the pain of separation is deafening. My mother was intertwined in the tapestry of my life and suddenly, I am traveling an unbeaten path.

What not to say to a grieving person

As I am going through the grief process, trying to reconcile the loss of my mother and navigate this life without her, I realize that I will never fully recover. With that being said, many well-intentioned individuals have offered words of consolation that are not comforting. I’d like to expound on a few of those utterances.

"Be happy that you had her"

I am extremely happy I had my mother! She was kind, loving, and the epitome of a phenomenal woman. However, she is no longer here, and it hurts like heck. Telling me to be happy I had her negates my loss and pain in this moment.

"She wouldn't want you to be sad..."

"She lived a long life and wouldn't want you to be sad." Yes, my mother lived a full life and for that I am grateful. Yet, I wanted more time. I would never have been ready to say goodbye. I acknowledge my sadness knowing that where there is great loss, there was exceptional love.

"Where is your faith?"

This question nearly took me out. How can anyone question my faith because I am grieving my mother? It is my faith that assures me I will see her again. It is my faith that motivates me to get up and go on when I feel like giving up. No one can judge my spirituality and emotions.

"You have to come out of this and go on"

Grief is a process and the time varies. I refuse to bear the expectations of others. No one decides the manner in which and/or the length of time I grieve. Taking the time I need is not only permitted, it is imperative. The allowance of grief does not equate to giving up. I will go on because my earthly assignment is not complete and in living, I honor my mother.

"Death is a part of life"

This is a familiar truth. Death will come to each of us once our earthly tasks are complete. Knowing this doesn’t assuage the agony of my mother’s transition. It feels dismissive and insensitive, especially at this time.

Words that I do find comforting

I’d also like to share sentiments I find comforting:

  • "I am sorry for your loss" – This statement is comforting and it recognizes the devastation I feel. It implies “I have empathy for you as a human and I validate your experience.
  • "I'm here for you" – These words speak volumes. Knowing I have a support system helps immensely. It reminds me that I am never alone.
  • "I don't know what to say" – I truly appreciate the honesty. This is a time in my life where even I am at a loss for words. No one really knows what to say and silence is golden on occasion. Sitting with me in the darkness may be the beacon of light I need at the time.
  • "I will pray for you" – I believe in the power of prayer and I know that many are standing in the gap for me as I journey through the wilderness. When things are beyond my control, it is prayer that sustains me and faith that gives me the courage I need to persevere.

MS introduced me to grief

Multiple sclerosis, chronic illness, and life itself introduced me to the tumultuous and complex process of grief. When a person is visibly hurting we want to quell the pain for them and eliminate the discomfort for us. It is difficult to bear witness to human loss and suffering, especially when it is someone we care about. I have learned that being present and following the lead of the bereaved is sufficient. Thanks for the opportunity to share my truth.

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