Nadine On…Grief

We all grieve differently.

Some grieve for a short time and then move on.

Some for months; while for others, it may take years.

Some seem to linger (read: waller) for decades.

And, finally, there are those poor souls who may never completely work through their grief. God Bless them. Note the operative word there…’work.’

Since grieving IS work.

For me, grieving, is just a part of everyday life. In my practice, I see grief every single day. And personally, I feel like I am always grieving over at least one thing my entire life. Even those with the most “charmed” lives experience grief.

I try to explain to friends/family/church family, we all grieve about the loss of different things. Of course, the obvious is the loss of a loved one. But grief also occurs with the loss of a relationship, a job even a pet. And we ALL do it differently.

I was amazed by this revelation, when my beloved grandfather died when I was 32 years old. He died from a heroic battle with lung cancer…he never smoked! The suspicion was that he had been exposed to asbestos during his life as an Electrician. Imagine the survivor guilt of those left behind who were smokers.

Side note: A death in my family has always been celebrated by a 3 day vigil at the home of whoever has passed away. Or at the larger home of one of their siblings or children. It really doesn’t matter, because no matter how large the home, we always manage to fill it up with family, friends and food.

So immediately, upon hearing of my grandfather’s crossing over into heaven, I made a bee-line to my grandmother’s house.

To clean.

See cleaning and staying busy is my way of grieving. We all show up to drink coffee, eat, cry, laugh, tell stories and play 42 dominos until late into the night.

I do all of that…and I clean.

I suppose you could call it a ‘Waking’ of sorts, since a few do drink, although discretely, if the 96 year old is around.

Of course grieving is no laughing matter. Unless, you happen to be one of those types of individuals who uses humor when their stress gets the better of them. We all know people like this, who make a joke out of nearly anything, just to lighten the mood. Kid yourself not; they are hurting as bad as the rest of us. Bless their hearts, they have just found a way to diffuse it in a different way.

For many, grieving is a process full of highs and lows and roller coaster rides. One day at the top of the hill, after a long and judicious climb to spend a brief time at the top. Only to be followed by a fast and hard plummet towards the bottom and just when you think you can’t hold your breath any longer, it gets knocked out of you as the car takes a sharp and jolting turn to the right. Your stomach tied in knots. Barfing closely hedges.

Many digress. They become very immature in their thinking, speaking and/or behavior.

Others shut down completely, only to come out when absolutely necessary or to go to work.

Some crawl into the bottom of a bottle, or worse yet, the bottom of a card board (insert your favorite flavor here) Blue Bell container. (Ben and Jerry’s if you live north of the Mason-Dixon line.)

A recent untimely loss in my family has left us, once again, speechless.

As all untimely deaths do.

And between the survivor guilt and my grief for the surviving siblings and parents I’m at a loss for words.

All I do know for sure about grief is this…Recognize that we all grieve differently, grieve as best you know how, for as long as YOU deem appropriate. And then, try to move on.

Heartbroken in Willer Holler,

Nadine Bodine

Your Very BEST Friend in the Whole Entire World

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