Peace

Get Over It

pond- waterlillies 2Everyone seems to be in such a hurry to just get over it. You know what I mean. Someone suffers the devastating loss of a loved one – a parent, partner, or child. His friends give him a decent amount of time and then start telling him to “get over it” and “move on.”  People tend to give an interval for grief, and then they seem to want the same person back.  I’d like to think that they only have the grieving person’s well-being in mind, but I’m not sure that’s always the case. They want their old friend back, you know, the one who didn’t have this large emotional burden. They think that if they can finish grieving, things will go back to the way they were.  I understand that, but what they create is a person who is now grieving, and feels guilty for that grief, because it makes his or her friends feel bad. I’m sorry, but that seems a little twisted to me.Allerton water lilly 3

Here’s the deal. They never return to being the person they used to be. They never get over it. They learn to cope, they somehow keep living, but they are always changed. If we are real friends, we honor that. We may grieve the loss of the friend that we used to have, but we need to appreciate the friend that we have now that will never be the same. Eventually, grief fades in intensity somewhat, but how long it takes is different for everyone. And they are changed forever. They may bounce back to someone similar to who we knew before. They may even look and sound the same sometimes, but they aren’t the same, and we shouldn’t expect them to be.

There is no getting over it. Moving on can happen, but as a friend to the one suffering from loss, it may take longer than we feel comfortable watching. As friends of the grieved, we just have to get over it ourselves. We will never have the same friend back, untouched by what has happened. And we shouldn’t ask them to be. We just need to accept and appreciate them for who they are now, even when that’s uncomfortable for us.

Kauai sunrise 6

Categories: Peace, Relationships

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19 replies »

  1. I’ve been on both sides of the coin, and I couldn’t agree more. You’ve summed it up better than anyone I’ve ever read.
    As Mifusa “Presents of Presence” said, this would be something wonderful to print and hand out at wakes.

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    • Thank you. A friend of mine had a major loss a few months ago, and I see how he struggles. He lost his partner of 26 years less than a year ago. No, he’s not over it.

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      • There’s a transition time which takes however long it takes per person ~ and then you can begin to accept the new normal. Grief isn’t always the loss of a person through death, it can even be your own illness. This is such a special tribute for your friend ~ your understanding can truly help him to heal. How blessed we all are to connect with you! ♥

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  2. This is such an insightful post, and true about so many things – friends going through divorces, illness, or any big trauma or change really. We all like our comfort zones, and we don’t like it when something rocks the boat. I think it’s also that when things like this happen to those close to us, it makes us feel vulnerable too, so we want everything to get back to the status quo as soon as possible, so that we don’t have to face that vulnerability, or the fragility of life.

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    • Yes, a fear of vulnerability is a recurring theme these days. I’m reading Brene’ Brown, trying to get a handle on that. Thanks for chiming in.

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  3. This is so real and touching. I think it is difficult for people to give to others what they are unable to give to themselves. Those who do not allow Self the experience of feeling all the way through something are usually uncomfortable with someone else who is feeling all the way through. It’s like a parent who shoves a cookie in a child’s mouth to stop the child from expressing hurt or pain. We are interesting creatures, to say the least.

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    • Thank you for these important thoughts, kd, and this idea is so well said, Brenda. “…it is difficult for people to give to others what they are unable to give to themselves.” Certainly I can see how one uncomfortable with grieving doesn’t want to be around it. There is nothing particularly well-meaning towards the grieving friend in that. This is so true on many other levels, though, and I do recognize it in myself.

      In particular, I notice my impulse to add space to relationships (to retreat a bit) when someone does something I perceive as hurtful or uncomfortable. It’s as if I can insulate myself from their flaws, when deep down a part of me is trying to escape confronting my own flaws. Of course there is nothing wrong with healthy boundaries, but a more developed response is to accept and to embrace well meaning but flawed friends the way they are. That’s becomes possible, for me, when I can accept and embrace my own flawed self.

      It seems Brenda’s observation is very much in tune with Mom’s observation below, too, namely that people who can’t honor their own feelings feel vulnerable when exposed to feelings from another person. And I couldn’t agree more with Mom, it does have an isolating effect.

      Thank you, kd, for bringing this thoughtful conversation to us.

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  4. That is a wonderful insight into people. Grief is difficult and recovery is learning to live with it. Not many people want to see our feelings.
    Perhaps it makes them feel vulnerable. So often people have trouble knowing what to do with their own feelings and when confronted with someone else’s feelings, they are truly lost and confused…feelings no one enjoys. These kind of difficulties are what isolate us from each other.

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  5. My grandmother told me at my mother’s funeral, I was 22 at the time, that I had to be strong and not cry, I thought – what terrible advice. Crying made her uncomfortable, she didn’t want to see my grief. After that I never had the same relationship with her again – I couldn’t express the truth of me to her. That’s the basis of all my relationships now. Lovely post, thanks.

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