WHAT WE WANT YOU TO KNOW
Being a griever seems to set us apart from society, from our friends, family, co-workers etc. Grief can be a very lonely place. It can be hard to explain or educate our supports on how we feel. Here are some things we want you to know as supporters and adjacent-grievers.
- Give us some grace please. We understand you don't know what to do or say, and neither do we. Let's work through it together.
- We are always thinking of our loved one. Bringing them up brings us joy. Avoiding conversation about them feels like they don't matter. Don't be afraid to ask questions about them. You will never startle or upset us by saying their name - we were already thinking about them!
- We can not be fixed. Stay away from platitudes and "positive quotes" as they usually hurt more than help.
- Society makes people feel uncomfortable with grief, like it's a mental illness that should be taboo. Imagine your life and feelings being invalidated and "uncomfortable" to society.
- If you feel uncomfortable about our grief, imagine how we feel.
- Grief is overwhelming. Focusing on the future is extremely hard for us. Most of the time we are only focused on today. Stay present with us and don't pressure any future talk or planning.
- We are always longing for our loved one.
- Reaching out to ask us how we are doing with no judgement towards our answer is really refreshing and makes us feel heard.
- When you say things like, "I just didn't know what to say to you so I haven't said anything," it feels like we slipped your mind. It feels great to know we aren't alone and that someone is thinking of us. A simple message goes a long way. Instead you can just say, "Thinking of you." (More under, WHAT NOT TO SAY)
- Be patient with us and please don't judge. This is overwhelming, we will probably do things wrong.
- Please don't be upset if we don't answer back until we're ready. Getting back to people, answering questions and chatting can be very overwhelming at times. As much as we love connection we also need some alone time. Give us time to find the right moment for us.
- Allow space in a conversation to talk about them. It's hard to go from talking about them with ease around people, to talking the same way but now with awkward silence. Ex: I used to be able to say, "Keith loved this song!" and get a response like, "Me too! This is my favorite!" Now its, "-silence-... I'm sorry..." (Don't make it weird!)