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“Just talking to people who understand helped me feel less overwhelmed. The written information made the difference in the middle of the night.”  

~Leah

“It’s Long Enough”

 

“It’s long enough isn’t something a grieving person hears right away.  Not at the funeral home or at services, not in the next week or two probably. But, soon.

Our society doesn’t have patience. For lots of things. Including me, of course!  I don’t like to wait in line and I expect my package to arrive in just two days. I believe people, in general, don’t have the patience or the time needed to grieve. Time that can be different for each person.

One of the statistics I learned at Heartlinks Grief Center is that it takes three to seven years to have a “new normal” after a major loss in one’s life. Not “back to normal”, a “new normal.” That normal without our loved one. That’s an average of five years. I was surprised to learn that – but when I reflected on the information, I had to agree, my experiences with grief held that true.

Here’s how I expressed this in We Lost Her, the book I published last year on our family’s grief experience after losing our Mom in 1976,

“In earlier generations, there were cultural norms about grieving.  Grieving people wore black for a prescribed number of months, didn’t participate in social events or work for a fixed period of time.  Current norms tend to push grief under the rug, saying as so many did to us: “Get over it.”  Quickly!  We’re uncomfortable with your crying and carrying on: “Get over it.”  Get back to work or school and don’t act as anything has changed.”

We’re expected to be back to work, to school, to life, in three or five days. If our workplace is generous, they may allow a little more. In those early moments of mourning, it may be hard to get out of bed, breathe, function at all, yet, no less be “normal.”

I recently had the pleasure of talking about We Lost Her and Heartlinks’ presentation, “Never Say These Six Things” to the Marissa Home Extension, the Pekoe Pals. They shared their personal insights into their experiences with grief. And Mellanie, who was such a gracious hostess, had a fun trivia type game about We Lost Her. I was humbled that they had read the book and were touched by our story. Here’s a picture of the group.

The plaque in the background expresses well how I felt to be there with them. “Grateful, Thankful, Blessed.”

As we discussed “It’s Long Enough” I could tell I’d hit a nerve with some of them. They too had heard the words, “Cheer up!” “It’s time to move on” “Put his things away” “Stop going to the cemetery.”

And they agreed, when you are in the middle of the grief journey, you can only do these things when your heart is ready.

So, dear readers, let’s take this one, too, out of our vocabulary for helping those grieving.  Instead, be there for them and walk along with them on their grief journey, for the time it takes them to travel to their “new normal.”

If you’d like a presentation for a group you belong to on “Never Say These Six Things – Well Meaning but Hurtful Expressions of Sympathy and What to Say and Do Instead” please contact Lisa at the Heartlinks Grief Center office at lmurphy@myheartlinks.com to arrange a speaker.

Be Blessed,

Ellen

Ellen Krohne, author of We Lost Her, available on Amazon.com

Heartlinks Grief Center volunteer and Family Hospice board member

https://www.facebook.com/WeLostHer/

“We Grow Stronger Together”

One Reply to ““It’s Long Enough””

  1. Our group learned a lot about what words to use & not use with our friends & family after a death of a loved one.
    Thank you for your personal journey & the helpful information.

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