Filush-Glaze: Grief, gratitude and thank you cards
Published 2:50 pm Tuesday, May 28, 2019
Part of why I write this column every week is because it allows me to offer up a different perspective from those who are grieving. As we all know, no two people grieve alike and what works for one person might not do anything for someone else — but, that does not mean that we don’t have shared experiences and commonalities across the board.
Case in point — thank you cards. For many, the task of writing out words of gratitude after the death of a loved one becomes very troublesome and might I add even burdensome. Just the thought of penning anything is another acknowledgment that their loved one is truly gone, and so it becomes fairly common to see those cards stack up unattended and forgotten for quite some time. Or are they?
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The thing is, many state that they are very much aware of “needing” to write thank you notes and send them out to friends and family, but actually sitting down and doing it is overwhelming and painful. Then, as more time passes, guilt starts to creep in because they feel that they are doing a “disservice” by not extending their thanks for those who have contributed acts of kindness or who have acknowledged their loss.
It’s not that they are ungrateful, it’s just that saying the words out loud about their loss is hard enough, and seeing them in black and white on stationary makes it all too real.
Now, on the other hand, there are those that truly find comfort in writing thank you cards. They share that by completing this task, they are “doing their due diligence” and look at it as having completed something on their ever-growing list, one less thing that they have to worry about on down the road.
Others feel it is an honor to engage in this personalized letter writing while others dread it like getting a tooth pulled.
Keep in mind that grief is exhausting. Somehow, we manage to stumble through each day, the awareness of our lives having changed forever sinking in and staying put. Finding the energy to perform even the most mundane task is a challenge, and so feeling “obligated” to sit down and write thank you notes seems like the least of their worries, and yet, worry them it does.
Yes, gratitude is important and believe me, those who are grieving are filled with gratitude for your presence and support. However, it may not always be easy to write down how they are feeling or even to say it out loud.
Wrap them up with your healing, lower your expectations, and just let them know that (card or no card), you will always be there.