Honouring grief is an art.

Please be clear, I don’t claim to have the right answers but I do feel that when it comes of suffering, I “misunderstand a little less completely” (CS Lewis).

I recently went to a party where I met an old aquaintance. He hadn’t seen me since Marisa had died and when he saw me, he immediately told me that I was going to be okay. I found it to be a curiously quick comment but thought that he was right and that I am going to be okay.

An hour later we met up again in another circle of people where the conversation gravitated towards my situation. Again I heard him say that I was going to be okay. And again, he was right. I am going to be okay but I felt it was told to me for not only the second time, but in a dismissive tone.

It happened for the third time about an hour later. He and I were in another conversation with different people when the topic of my situation came up again and he again told me that I was going to be okay and then reminded me publicly that he had told me that already twice.

At this point, more than usual, the filter between my brain and my mouth was nowhere to be found (or heard).

I spoke to him and addressed his comments. I spoke the truth in love. I said that although he is right and we will be okay, when someone tells me that I am going to be okay in a flippant manner, it does not honour how difficult it is. When it is said so quickly and with nearly no taste of lament, it means very little. When it is said with a sense of ‘lets move the conversation along’, it doesn’t honour how difficult grieving is and how difficult it is to lose. And how difficult and lonely it is to find the road back to ‘okay’.

And I am not looking for pity because I don’t need pity. But sometimes people who are grieving need lament. Lament and pity are two very different things.

I understand that he was uncomfortable. I get that. And I understand that people say things because they are uncomfortable with being uncomfortable. I am often a victim of that emotion.

And I understand that he didn’t mean to be hurtful.

But that doesn’t mean he wasn’t.

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