Are we ever prepared for grief?
We all suffer grief. It may be a motor vehicle accident, an explosion as what occured in Cuba recently that claimed the lives of some 40 persons and injuring many more. It may be a child who died from natural causes like illness. This grief may be a loved one who fell ill, went to the hospital and never returned home alive. Whatever the circumstance is, there is cause for alarm and grief.
How do we respond to such incidences say a lot about us. Of course, we all respond differently depending on how close we are to the incident and the loved one who has been injured or negatively impacted by the incident. It may be a single parent, a wife or a husband. The sole breadwinner of a family. A child who will be left without a caregiver or guardian. Circumstances vary and two cases are usually never the same.
It is a touchy subject when analysed in a vacuum or from a distance. A couple is married for say forty years and one dies. This can be devastating for the surviving spouses who may have depended on the deceased for financial or moral support. You suddenly find yourself without your life’s partner. It can be daunting and can leave us in a state of shock and dismay. Whom or where do you turn to for help and support? You could feel hopeless. This is understandable.
Your church family may be a starting point. Your men’s or women’s group. It could be even a whatsApp group. Whatever it is there is always help and we should never feel we are alone. Just reach out for help. Prayer also helps.
Too many of us get caught up in a one track type of existence. Some of us will tell you I have no time for anything else except my daughter or spouse and family. That is indeed good, but in times of loss there is need to have other means of support which may not be financial. Moral support can be as invaluable as financial. Food for thought!
A certain song has the lyrics. “Loneliness won’t leave me alone” … name of artist does not readily come to mind.
I was on a bus recently and met a pretty mature woman and the first thing she told me was that she finds it very difficult dealing with loneliness. She is single, has children who have grown and have flown the nest. They communicate by phone and remittances, but basically she is alone. This scenario duplicates itself over and over again. I heard of a woman reporting on a talk show that she has four grown children overseas and she is visually impaired, lives alone and finds it difficult to survive. She may be grieving even more than someone who has lost a partner. Our level of grief varies from person to person and situation to situation.
In this my further perspective … I was at a funeral of a relative recently and a surviving wife of the deceased created quite a scene. At one point I thought she would have broken the glass of the casket that housed her husband’s remains. She was just wailing uncontrollably. What do you say to such a grieving person? Do you look on and criticize? How do you respond? I tried to comfort her. Was not sure what to do. Another relative reminded me that we all grieve differently. Her husband was ill for a while. I thought there was time for at least some closure. Was I wrong? Let me get your feedback, please!
We have long established that we all grieve differently, but in my perspective we all need to be prepared to face grief. Although her husband was sick and in hospital, and died there. Did she have some closure?
When death is sudden and almost unexplainable … one can better understand. A healthy looking person is killed in say a motor vehicle crash. A very upright citizen is murdered in cold blood by a stranger. A drive by shooting occurs. Students at school and another student opens fire from a gun and takes some lives of say staff and fellow students. All Innocent parties who have every reason to feel safe in such an environment. This type of grief can be devastating. All grief is grief, but this last scenario can be cause for a lot of introspection. Very difficult to come to grips with. Yet if prepared we can deal with same. Preparation makes a world of a difference. What is your perspective? This is ours.
If you are a person of faith you will find a host of explanation in the bible and many words of comfort. God will take care of his people.
Let us not mourn as if people without hope …
God will teach us how to cope …
He is gone to prepare a place …
A resting home … a place of great taste.
Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie is a poet, elegist, author, and senior international journalist who writes for Vision newspaper.