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Grief Relief: The Down and Dirty

If we are truly honest, most of us will admit that we are uncomfortable with death and dying.  No one truly likes to talk about it or address the things that come along with it, and yet, we owe it to ourselves to do just that, and then some.  One of my co-workers recently stated that she appreciates those who are willing to get into the meat of grief, the “down and dirty” she called it.  She stated that for those who have experienced loss, meeting others who are willing to share and address the most intimate details of losing a loved one is a gift that not many are able to distribute.  Why?  Simply because they haven’t been there and thus, they are simply unable to truly understand the intricacies of what happens after death occurs.

Now, that is not to say that people cannot be empathetic or filled with compassion, but there is a difference between those who have already experienced the trauma of loss versus those who have been lucky enough to escape that aspect of our lives that we must all face at some point.  Those who have “been there” or are still currently on their grief path have an understanding of how death impacts their daily lives.  They have searched for answers to the changes they are facing and they have been left to wander in the streets of loss, constantly looking for a return to some semblance of normalcy, uncertain where they are going or how they will get there, but determined all the same.

All that wandering, all that confusion tends to slowly dissipate the moment they encounter someone else who happens to be on a similar journey.  I have watched as hardened hearts melted away once someone realized that they were not alone- that someone truly understood them.  And I have seen relationships established that perhaps never would have had a chance at forming if not for the fact that death and loss had bound them together.  It is a strange bond to say the least, and one that not many people would openly volunteer to be a part of, however, it is a necessary one and it is one that when given the opportunity to formulate, should be approached with the open arms of hope.  There is simply no other relationship like it and perhaps that is why the ability of a support group, of those gathered together in the name of loss, garners so much strength and positive outcomes.

Please keep in mind that if you have experienced loss and are comfortable sharing your journey (as comfortable as you can be discussing death and dying), there are many out there who would welcome your experience and wisdom from having walked the path.  Most would prefer to have a listening ear and a chance to ask difficult questions searching for honest answers versus reading about them within the confines of a book telling us how to grieve or what we should be feeling.  In short, the subject of death is a complicated one and can lead us down many different roads, however it will also ultimately remind us that we are survivors and that we have faced our loss head on, living to see another day.  Get down and dirty.  Sometimes it is the only way to emerge from the depths of our loss with a clean heart.