To understand the importance of grieving well and safely, let’s take a few minutes to talk about what happens when grief damages a life. My retired life spends several winter months in a resort environment with a better climate than home. When the weather is good, I will often write early mornings in the quiet pool area. Mostly in these times I interact with resort employees, either maintenance or security who are taught to engage the resort guests in conversation. When asked, I tell them I am writing. When asked what I’m writing, I tell them I am writing about grief.
I engaged last year with “C” a security guard in his early 30’s who spoke of his struggles with grief. For a young man, he had a significantly challenging journey of grief. The lingering death of a mother who suffered a brain bleed, then the long slow death of his father to cancer where he became the primary caregiver, mixed with the opiod death of his sister. In his words, he had some anger management issues, and that he had self medicated with alcohol, and had screwed up previous jobs and relationships. He was doing the work to stay clean and sober and was starting to feel stable. I would see him every few days and we’d chat. Another member of the security team commented that “whatever you’re talking about with “C” is making a dramatic difference, he’s lighter and happier.
I had not yet launched www.DistillingGrief.com when I left for home. I’m back nine months later and “C” is no longer employed at the resort. His struggles and problems made him unreliable and a bad fit to interact with people in a resort environment. His struggles with the damages in his life that has included grief is ongoing, and not headed in the right direction.
The average person lacks the resources in time and often money or benefits to pay for professional help. Most have a social network in a similar position, and almost everyone lacks good mentorship through grief. This creates a potentially destructive environment where positive outcomes are less likely.
The average employer lacks the mechanisms, funding, or will to identify and help people who are struggling with grief or the subordinate issues of anger and addiction due to grief. So these people fall through gaping holes in the support network of their lives.
I have no idea if “C” ever found www.DistillingGrief.com it’s not a highly visible or easy to find resource. If, by some incredible stroke of luck, “C” reads this post, please reach out to me. I am interested in helping you find the help that you need. I saw a compassionate, caring young man who had suffered losses beyond his ability to process and sacrificed parts of his life to help nurse his father to a bad death from cancer. I saw potential and meaning in parts of your journey that you saw as failures or afflictions in your life. “C”, you matter. Please reach out to me via the contact on the home page.
To others who are struggling with grief, please try to find help to redefine your purpose in life. If you’re involved in a church, start there. There are many support groups for the grieving, try to find one. Loss isn’t easy, but destroying your own life because someone else died is not the path you should follow without fighting to get your life back on track.
If you know someone caught in a downward vortex of grief, reach out. Offer them a kind word, some gentle but honest listening, and then be persistent and consistent in staying in touch.
Grief is not meant to be a destroyer of lives; it is an ongoing expression of love.
Be well, seek peace, rebuild love around holes that form in your soul from loss.