Today I woke up thinking about the warrior courage it takes to walk through each and everyday after losing someone. The energy it takes to actually put your feet on the floor and lift yourself up and out of bed, still with that gut wrenching feeling in your stomach, continuously reminding you that something ever so important is missing from your everyday world. You don't want to participate in the day to day but you HAVE TO. Showering seems optional, right up there with smiling. Yet you do it anyway. You go about the things you absolutely need to survive and then you run into the inevitable. The person who looks at you with the best of intentions and says "you are so strong" ...... It's this very moment that I want to talk about right here. I don't speak for every griever on the planet but I'm sure some can relate to what I'm about to say. It's like slow motion watching this person vomit those words out of their mouth. I replay the movie 300 in my mind. You know the one with the ever so good looking Gerard Butler when he is speaking to the Persian messenger in his center court. The Persian relays his message and you can see the quick processing in the eyes of Gerard right before he turns, screams "THIS IS SPARTA"! and kicks the Persian messenger down the abyss. The lack of options, frustration and rage all showed so perfectly in this moment. This is what my internal monologue plays when I hear those words. I visualize me screaming " I have no other options"! Right before I front kick the person who just tried to show me they cared down into an abyss.
Now it's been 13 years since I have personally had to fight through the emotions that go along with those words. Yet I can see the pain on a new grievers face when they are presented those words by another person. First they are trying not to assault you because you used what I like to call an intellectual statement (Something that from the mind makes perfect sense, but you are speaking to a griever's heart and it's like a dagger into their soul) You need to speak to a griever's heart, this very sensitive, fragile heart that is hanging on by its last thread. This specific intellectual statement is so harsh because what other options does a griever have but to move forward through each day? You have to, it's the only option.
I never felt strong after losing my daughter, in fact I felt so weak that a simple wind could have knocked me over if I let my guard down. A guard that had to stay up because I needed to deflect all the well intentioned comments that came my way, and hurt so bad.
Intellectual comments like: *You can have more children
* At least you're young
* This too shall pass
* Time heals... just give it time
* etc, etc, etc
My intellect fully agrees with those statements, but my hearts says:
*But I'll never again have the sweet soul that I just lost, Which of your kids can you live without?
*Yes I'm young, and I'm hurt. Can you see that?
*Obviously the time will pass, but will the pain? I can barely function
*Does time heal? Because I'm drowning right now and not sure if I'll make it to see.
So back to Sparta we go:
A griever needs the ultimate support system. People that understand just how much those intellectual statements hurt. They need a well oiled group that can come together Like the picture above and see the incoming spears of intellectual comments and help lift the armour to shield their beloved friend from being hurt worse by well meaning comments. So like the 300 Spartans that cost the Persians roughly 20,000 casualties. We as friends of a griever can help deflect at least that many comments. Remember that your silent presence is far more powerful than a million empty words. Be a shoulder and an ear for your friend. Let the waves of grief hit, and be there to help them stand. What "strength" they are demonstrating is really their only option to move through each day. YOU are the one who gets the exhibit fortitude and be their 300.