5.19.2011

How you can help me

I didn't write this, but I wanted to share it:



"How You Can Help Me"
Please talk about my loved one, even though he is gone. It is more comforting to cry than to pretend that he never existed. I need to talk about him, and I need to do it over and over.

Be patient with my agitation. Nothing feels secure in my world. Get comfortable with my crying. Sadness hits me in waves, and I never know when my tears may flow. Just sit with me in silence and hold my hand.

Don't abandon me with the excuse that you don't want to upset me. You can't catch my grief. My world is painful, and when you are too afraid to call me or visit or say anything, you isolate me at a time when I most need to be cared about. If you don't know what to say, just come over, give me a hug or touch my arm, and gently say, "I'm sorry." You can even say, "I just don't know what to say, but I care, and want you to know that."

Just because I look good does not mean that I feel good. Ask me how I feel only if you really have time to find out.

I am not strong. I'm just numb. When you tell me I am strong, I feel that you don't see me. I will not recover. This is not a cold or the flu. I'm not sick. I'm grieving and that's different. My grieving may only begin 6 months after my loved one's death. Don't think that I will be over it in a year. For I am not only grieving his death, but also the person I was when I was with him, the life that we shared, the plans we had for our children, the places we will never get to go together, and the hopes and dreams that will never come true. My whole world has crumbled and I will never be the same.

I will not always be grieving as intensely, but I will never forget my loved one and rather than recover, I want to incorporate his life and love into the rest of my life. He is a part of me and always will be, and sometimes I will remember him with joy and other times with a tear. Both are okay.

I don't have to accept the death. Yes, I have to understand that it has happened and it is real, but there are some things in life that are just not acceptable. When you tell me what I should be doing, then I feel even more lost and alone. I feel badly enough that my loved one is dead, so please don't make it worse by telling me I'm not doing this right. And remember, I was a capable adult before his death and I still am.

Please don't tell me I can find someone else or that I need to start dating again. I may not be ready. And maybe I don't want to be. And besides, what makes you think people are replaceable? They aren't. Whoever comes after will always be someone different.

I don't even understand what you mean when you say, "You've got to get on with your life." My life is going on, I've been forced to take on many new responsibilities and roles. It may not look the way you think it should. This will take time and I will never be my old self again. So please, just love me as I am today, and know that with your love and support, the joy will slowly return to my life. But I will never forget and there will always be times that I cry.

I need to know that you care about me. I need to feel your touch, your hugs. I need you just to be with me, and I need to be with you. I need to know you believe in me and in my ability to get through my grief in my own way, and in my own time.

Please don't say, "Call me if you need anything." I'll never call you because I have no idea what I need. Trying to figure out what you could do for me takes more energy than I have. So, in advance, let me give you some ideas:

(a) Bring food or a movie over to watch together.

(b) Send me a card on special holidays, our wedding anniversary, his birthday, and the anniversary of his death, and be sure to mention his name. You can't make me cry. The tears are here and I will love you for giving me the opportunity to shed them because someone cared enough about me to reach out on this difficult day.

(c) Ask me more than once to join you at a movie or lunch or dinner. I may say no at first or even for a while, but please don't give up on me because somewhere down the line, I may be ready, and if you've given up then I really will be alone.

(d) Understand how difficult it is for me to be surrounded by couples, to walk into events alone, to feel out of place in the same situations where I used to feel so comfortable.

Please don't judge me now - or think that I'm behaving strangely. Remember I'm grieving. I may even be in shock. I am afraid. I may feel deep rage. I may even feel guilty. But above all, I hurt. I'm experiencing a pain unlike any I've ever felt before and one that can't be imagined by anyone who has not walked in my shoes.

Don't worry if you think I'm getting better and then suddenly I seem to slip backward. Grief makes me behave this way at times. And please don't tell me you know how I feel, or that it's time for me to get on with my life. What I need now is time to grieve. Most of all thank you for being my friend. Thank you for your patience.

Thank you for caring. Thank you for helping, for understanding.

And remember in the days or years ahead, after your loss - when you need me as I have needed you - I will understand. And then I will come and be with you.

--Author Unknown

19 comments:

Vicki said...

I love this, Vee. Even though it's not your own words - I can hear you in so many of the things said here. I'm glad you're giving this reminder. I love you!

"FAITH" said...

Thanks for sharing this. So often we may not even think about how the little things can mean so much. : )

Jessie's Girls said...

Thank you for sharing this Veronica.

Delaney said...

I never know what exactly to say to your post because I have no idea of how much pain you are feeling, but the little that I know of you, I care for you and I wish I could day something to ease some of your heart ache.

You are in my prayers tonight!

lara grice said...

Thanks for this Veronica! So insightful and helpful for those of us that want to be caring and supportive but don't quite know what is needed.

Ashley said...

This is a great article, whoever wrote it.

I lost my Mom six years ago, when I was twenty, and it still surprises me (makes me angry, in fact) when the special days and holidays and days in between can be as difficult (or more!) as they were the first year.

I have followed your blog since shortly after Jeremy's death. I don't know what to say, because there is nothing to say but that I continue to pray for you and your family.

Anonymous said...

I love this. I don't even know you and many times in reading your writings and peoples reply's makes me hurt more for you. I know they mean well and love you but words sometimes just aren't necessary. I could never imagine losing the best gift God has given me (besides salvation). You take as long as you need to. This is your life. You do as you feel. Just remember, all in all even though you are angry with Him...He still loves you very much.

Noel Walker said...

Thanks Vee,

A wonderful encouragement. So glad I got to see both you and Carter this week.

Nicole said...

Thank you for this, Vee. A new friend of mine's husband was killed in a car accident a month ago leaving her with three children. I, like so many, don't know what to do. The other day I just asked her if her and her kids would like to join me and mine at the zoo next Friday. I do hope that she'll go. If not, with your advice, I'll keep calling her.

Katie said...

Wow, I'm glad you posted this. I think it's easy for people to think that if I don't say anything, I won't hurt them. I know I do that with people in my own life. I hope you have people in your life that you can count on to help you live each day with remembrance.

Mrs EyeCanSee said...

This is amazing and so how I feel most days. (well except for the dating part....I lost my mom :)

Thank you so much for sharing this!

BeeMore said...

I care and you and your family are in my prayers. >hug<

My Husband's Watching TV... said...

Thanks for this Vee. I think it helps all of us in many situations. How's that baby Carter doing?

Donna said...

Amazing. I am going to share this with a friend who lost her 50 year old mother when she was only 29...loss is as universal as the love attached to it, isn't it?

divorce children said...

Wow. It just touched my heart. I never thought how small things could really be very important to other people and how small things could mold into a larger scale. Thanks for this post.


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Anonymous said...

Thought you might find comfort in knowing you're not alone... dennyandwendy.blogspot.com

kkhk12 said...

Thank you for sharing this, Vee. It is very helpful, as many have not been in a situation like yours and do not know what do do. This gives a little insight into how to help a friend.

I think of you often and your beautiful children too. I hope that each day gets a little better for you.

Congrats on your new house! Wishing you much happiness there. You truly deserve it!

holland114 said...

Vee,
thanks for sharing this insight...very helpful info! why dont you send your address and list those dates: his birthday,date of his death, your anniv, your birthday..ETC I would remember to mail you a card and would be glad to cheer you up!!! I will admit I have ""NO IDEA!!" what your life is really like and the HELL u are going thru....but would love to help!~~ I wish you were my neighbor! I have told you this before and also that you should write a novel i love your style!!!~~~~ email me with info if u dont want to POST!

Desi said...

This is amazing.

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