Filush-Glaze: Grief has no labels

Published 4:59 pm Monday, August 5, 2019

Jenny Filush-Glaze
Grief Relief

Just in case you didn’t know this, grief has no labels. It isn’t reserved for just women or men and it certainly doesn’t discriminate when it comes to color because it literally touches us all. Yes, even those that display that “Strong persona” still grieve, their way might just be a little different from what you are accustomed to seeing. But, be rest assured, not a single one of us is immune to experiencing the pain and loss that death brings with it when it arrives at our door.

I continuously meet people in life that make assumptions about grief and “how” people grieve. If I were to take a poll, a vast majority of people would say that women are “more emotional” and that men are “strong.” In general, people think that men handle the finances and that women handle all of the “household” items, and yet this is simply not the case in every situation. Most importantly, I think we need to address these labels that are often thrust upon us when we are most fragile so that feelings are not infringed upon and so that people can work towards understanding the way that grief invades our lives and changes us- completely.

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Whisperers and tongue wagers are infamous for placing labels on the shoulders of the bereaved, and once those labels are established, it becomes more difficult to crawl out from underneath the garbage of someone else’s expectations. I certainly don’t know about you, but as for me, it has never been appreciated when someone steps into my life at a trying time and proceeds to tell me what they think is best for me. I’m like, “How do they know?” And then I look at them incredulously and walk away, knowing in my heart that they have never walked a single step in my shoes.

Perhaps this sounds harsh or filled with judgment, but I feel very strongly that when it comes to grief, we need to be reminded of how painful the journey is and how lost we often feel.

Sometimes, if we take a step back and listen to our inner voice, we remember the times when labels were forced upon us and how horrible that made us feel.

And, because we have experienced this, we know better than to reach out in our support of others in this manner. Instead, we approach our loved ones with openness and presence with the promise of being exactly what it is that they need at that moment- not tomorrow or next week- but right then.

Lastly, and one of my ultimate pet peeves- grief is not “crazy.” We are entitled to having our meltdowns and our erratic behavior. It’s ok if we stay in bed for a bit or skip a shower or two because believe it or not, that is being human. So stop with the labels and expectations and just greet grief with the knowledge that it eventually touches us all.