- (Art by Mitchell Flautt)
- 10:15 P.M.
- Mood: better.
It’s always awkward to talk about the dead, isn’t it?
It shouldn’t be, though. I found myself feeling like this in several situations dealing with grief, though. I felt weird bringing up the fact that my mom had passed years ago, and I also felt weird whenever my nephew would mention his dad (who had also passed) in day-to-day situations. “There are certain times where you just shouldn’t talk about it, or it makes people feel awkward”, I’ve thought to myself before, believing it wholeheartedly, but knowing it sounded douchey.
The truth, however, is that there’s no wrong time to talk about it. Today, I’m helping my boyfriend grieve the loss of a pet. In his family, you treat pets like your own children, so it was a huge blow to him. I was terrified of not knowing what to do or what to say. I was afraid of only making matters worse by accident. I had no idea what to do.
But, what I’ve actually learned is that, in spite of how cliché it sounds (I’ve heard this a LOT), it truly helps to be willing to just be there. When a person is grieving, he/she can sometimes take on the mindset that his/her emotions serve as a burden to others. The person becomes afraid to even express them in the fear that they will push people away. Showing that you’re willing to stick around through raw emotions, even if you don’t have shit to say, can totally speak volumes. And, if the person copes better with being left alone, give the person that space. It’s not personal. Believe me.
In addition to that, I want to stress again that THERE IS NO AWKWARD TIME TO TALK ABOUT THE SUBJECT OF THE GRIEF. If the person who’s grieving wants to talk about how the sunset reminds him of how his mother’s eyes shined, or if a child wants to talk about how he remembers that his dad used to laugh (even seemingly out of nowhere), let him. Let him talk about it. Having the space to remember anything about the person/animal/thing that’s passed can work wonders on sorting out the hectic emotions that comes with grief. Bonus points for being able to chime in with memories with that person/animal/thing of your own.
All in all, give the person space to grieve for however long he/she needs to. For some people, it could take a week or so. For others, it could impact the rest of their lives. There’s no wrong amount of time; just let them take all the time they need.
Grief isn’t awkward. It’s absolutely necessary.