Grief is not something our society wants to understand, acknowledge or discuss. Society wants to berate us with "Get over it," or "it’s been months, just let it go." Our grief-avoidance society reacts when receiving a response of "just suck it up and move on." We can feel like we have been gutted and left to ponder if we are inadequate or abnormal; why are we not moving at the speed society expected of us. We struggled with what we perceived as weakness and shortcoming; shrinking back into the deep dark confines of our anguish to suffer in silence.
Our loved one had been unexpectedly ripped from our world but we react as if it were a mere skinned knee or tiny cut on the finger, yet the gaping hole in our hearts still sears with the ache of our missing loved one. Silently we observe everyone around us going about as though nothing has occurred - working, joking laughing with no thoughts of our great loss or pain. Pulling further back into solitude, retreating to the dark silent crevices filed with burning heartbreak; existing on the outskirts of life wondering if we will ever be able to mend enough to join in the light, the laughter? Will this gloom ever lift? Is there life after loss?
Our deepest wound of loss might be the biggest gift to the world. How can this be? How can this gut-wrenching wound ever heal let alone be perceived as a gift? My life is in upheaval. This person we had chosen to spend forever with is no longer by our side. At work, we had counted down the moments till we could share the nuances of our day with each other. Calling that special person as we walked to our car and relishing in our discussions as we closed the distance between us until finally, we pulled into the driveway our hearts racing as we saw their figure waiting for us under the carport each evening. How can we go on without them? What’s our purpose in life now? What reason can we find to even get out of bed each morning? Each day we cry out to God to be reunited with our loved one, but it's not our time yet; God has a purpose for us.
We need to find a grief support system that can help us. People who can share their journey and helped us to understand that although we hear "it just takes time", waiting on time does not necessarily heal all wounds.
During the first year of being a hospice chaplain while helping many families and hearing the countless stories, the wounds of my personal grief began to exceed to a deeper level in losing my wonderful Mother by helping others through this painful period in life. I drew upon my Mother's life and example as she showed and taught unconditional love and respect for all. Now, with wisdom and compassion, I am able to honor her legacy as I share with others how to overcome their wounds of grief to a place of gratitude.
Dear reader, we must be open to allow the unknown paths before us as we surpass the wounds of our grief and cherish the memories of our loved ones. We must not be afraid to ask for help and support along the way. Nor should we succumb to the fallacy society attempts to use to envelope and conceal our grief. Let’s use our lives to honor our treasured ones. Let us liberate the love our precious ones have shared with us by sharing with others.
Remember, we are here to help! If you have any questions about hospice care, please call Sheila Dann at 918-782-7955. She would love to hear from you!
John T. Catrett, III serves as a Chaplain with ONHL Hospice. ONHL Hospice currently provides services to the majority of Northeastern Oklahoma but is available to accept patients statewide. Learn more at http://onhlhospice.com.