Of Life

Posted 3/9/22

SLICES Of Life BY JILL PERTLER Grief tutorial 2.0 – part 1 About a month after I lost my husband, I put together a tutorial of sorts for what to do (and not to do) when someone you love is …

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Of Life




Grief tutorial 2.0 – part 1

About a month after I lost my husband, I put together a tutorial of sorts for what to do (and not to do) when someone you love is grieving. It’s been over a year since and then and in that time I’ve gained myriad knowledge about the grief process. (Yeah me!)

Losing is a part of loving and loving is a part of life so I think this is knowledge we all can use, whether we are helping someone through grief, we are grieving ourselves or both.

This information was too much for one column, so I’ve put together advice for those who are grieving (this column) and those who love someone who is walking the walk (next week’s message).

When you are grieving: It’s tempting to compare your situation to that of someone else’s. Don’t.

The death of a child, a spouse, a friend, a sibling, a parent or anyone you love or have loved – they are all devastating. You can’t measure or compare devastating. Each experience is unique. Don’t equate your grief with someone else’s, especially if their’s is newer than yours. Give them the moment.

As much as you want it to end, it never will. I remember on day two vowing I wouldn't be defined by widowhood. I now re – alize that might be impossible. Much like other significant roles in life, you can’t pretend widowhood away. The event doesn’t have to completely define you, but much like the significant gain of a marriage or birth of a child, it will change you and will forever affect you. You simply can’t deny it.

After a deep loss, every day starts out hard because it often comes with the realization of the life you are now living; Sometimes the aloneness is nearly too much to bear. But every day is also a new day with opportunities to take a step (even a small step) forward. If you falter and stand still or go backward, give yourself grace. There’s always tomorrow.

The people we loved are not gone or lost. They are close, especially if we acknowledge and believe in their closeness. They want us to acknowledge and believe in their closeness. Love never dies; human bodies die, but love remains intact. It continues to grow. It is eternal and more beautiful than I ever knew before grief.

Grief may leave you alone, but alone comes with certain unique possibilities. When you share your world with another person it is wonderful, but it also means sharing your world. Grief leaves you free to not share. This means pursuing you. It is realizing it’s okay to have your own bucket list, because the “our” bucket list may no longer exist. Take this for what it is and bucket your way away.

Give yourself grace. You are walking a walk that you never planned nor would have chosen. You were forced to pivot midstep and keep breathing the whole while – that is nothing short of Olympic. Give yourself a medal for participation; make it a gold one at that.

No one chooses grief, or loss; it descends upon us and claims a permanent spot in our lives. Grief isn’t something you get passed or get over. It is something you learn to live with – in tandem. It remains in your life, but whether it rules you or you rule it is in your power.

Claim your power. Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright and author. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.