Unexpectedly last Saturday, the world lost a wonderful mom, wife, grandmother and friend. As a nurse, I am familiar with death. I have helped families say good bye to their loved ones, hugged those in mourning and planned a dignified passing with terminally ill patients. And every time I have lost a patient, I held it together so the families would have a person to support them. Death is not easy and can manifest many emotions for all of those surrounded by the loss. As my family and I grieve for our dear friend and her family, I realized several very important things. These are my random thoughts about grief and loss and sadness.
It’s OK to cry
I don’t like what I call squishy things. I do not like being open and vulnerable to people and to me crying makes me feel vulnerable. To this very day, I do not like to watch movies with people in case I end up crying. My husband thinks I am crazy and has to go to the movies alone! Don’t get me wrong, I am a crier. An ugly one at that. My best friend captured that ugly face the day I received my Aggie ring. Thanks Kortnee. I just believe in crying alone. But, after this tragedy, I was so caught off guard I cried. A lot. In front of a lot of people. And, I felt much better then than when I cried alone. There is something so comforting knowing you are not alone and someone is grieving too. We were being healed as we mourned together. See? It’s squishy. I’m having trouble writing this but it needs to be said.
Hug everyone a little tighter tonight
Oddly enough, I don’t think hugs are squishy. I will hug anyone! I am the awkward person that meets you for the first time and brings it in for a hug. And Saturday night, I hugged everyone I knew. Poor Nugget was so tired of me picking her up and squeezing her. I did not care. You never know when the last time you will hug someone so hug everyone.
Say I love you more and with meaning
Tell your loved ones you love them. Always. And mean it. You never know when that last phone call or goodbye will be. As does everything, repetitive behavior becomes habit and loses its meaning. Speak to your family and friends with your heart. Let them see what they mean to you and how grateful you are they are in your life. You never hear people complain of being told the are loved too much.
Time will heal
I struggle with this for several reasons. On the one hand, I am the most impatient person. I want my grief and sadness to be done with. I want to fast forward to the moment that I am back to being me. But, I am so afraid that as time goes on, I will lose my memory of my friend. It is bound to happen. But, if I can hold on to the misery and the sadness part of me still feels connected to her. I know, I know, all of you are psychoanalyzing me right not. You don’t have enough time! If you are struggling with grief, loss and sadness it will get easier. Not today or tomorrow but eventually.
Know that you are not alone. I am not an expert. These actions are not a cure all. If you are really struggling with grief or immense sadness, please seek help. Talk to someone you trust. It’s OK to cry. It’s OK to be squishy.