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Supporting Grief – There will be those days
Grief and how to help #6
Memories are just so important. They are the moments in life that we cling to, when all of a sudden, we are without that person we shared the memory with. Memories also provide great comfort and represent a continuing relationship, even though the person has died.
For someone in grief, which we have established, is a critical response to a loss, there are days they just do not look forward to. Birthdays, Christmas, the anniversary of the death; perhaps a wedding anniversary. For a pre-born baby not gone to term, it could be the due date of the birth.
Maybe it is an event that they would always watch or go to; AFL Grand Final or Mount Panorama Racing at Bathurst. Anything can be a trigger, which may lead to overwhelming sense of loss. It is often the ’empty chair’ that use to have someone sitting on it, when they no longer are.
If you have been supporting someone in grief, you will start to understand when these days or events are, and might even start to come up with little subtle ways of celebrating the ‘good’ part of the memories. Maybe keeping a chair empty, to acknowledge that the person was a significant part of the day, or continuing to share memories and moments. That way the person can still be part of the day, although they are not physically present.
Always be gentle in these situations. Memories are ‘holy ground’ to those in grief, so don’t go in with ‘the fix.’ Have a plan, albeit a loose one, that can be tweaked, adjusted or just dropped if necessary. It could be the best thing that could be possibly done, or maybe the worst. That is why flexibility is absolutely paramount. The thought always needs to be ‘will this enhance the grief journey?’
The commentary in this blog is intended to be general in nature. It is just some observations from one fellow traveller in life to another. If anything in this blog raises issues for you, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or consult with a trusted medical professional.