All the Wrong Places

The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable.
James A. Garfield, 20th US President 

On a page titled After the Shock, I wrote that in the midst of grief, we wonder how it will ever become less intense. This is why it is important to consider support from others we trust. People who care about us want to help us.

The key phrases are support from others we trust and people who care about us. I live in a large city where no one knows me. Most of the time I like the anonymity, but anonymity has its drawbacks: sometimes I feel alone in a crowd. When I was new to grief, I mentioned my mother's death to people I didn't know, usually in the context of buying goods and services. I never expected the unkindness of strangers.

I have an online friend who is also an advanced practice RN and a grief counselor. Her web site Grief Healing
 is a precious resource to me. I had an especially painful interaction with a shop clerk. I wrote Marty for a reality check on why I was so sensitive to the insensitivity of others. I share part of her compassionate response:

You ask if it is common to get this type of reaction from a stranger, and all I can say is that, when you disclose your loss to any stranger, you run the risk of exposing yourself to the insensitivity of another, or to one who's never experienced loss, or in this case, to what may have been the raw emotions of another grieving person...Still, I don't think there is any way to immunize yourself against the insensitivity of others.

My prayer for you is that eventually the rawness and vulnerability you're feeling now will ease, and the day will come when the thoughtless, trivializing comments of such insensitive others will not hurt as much.

In the meantime, know that your deep sense of loss is a natural response to the death of your precious parents, whatever their age or however old you are. Your grief is a manifestation of your attachment and your love, and you don't have to explain that to anyone, stranger or otherwise.

Marty's response helped me understand that I was looking for love in all the wrong places. When we are grieving, we put ourselves at great emotional risk when we tell a stranger about our deep personal loss. Grief makes us vulnerable to the insensitivity of others.

To be fair, some people responded with "Sorry for your loss," but we never know the life experiences of another. Sometimes we get blasted. To decrease your risk of hurting even more from the unkindness of strangers, please share your grief with those you trust and those who care about you.


Go to next page: Fair Weather Friends

The Grieving Heart is getting a new home...
Grief has no timetable, but the launch of a new website does: August 1, 2019.                                                                     
The updated design will be easy to use, secure and mobile-friendly.
Please visit again. Thank you!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

My E-mail:

Christine (at) The Grieving Heart (dot) info 

A Word About E-mail: One way to decrease SPAM caused by Internet bots is to deactivate the live address link. You can still contact me by typing this address into your own e-mail program using @, a period, and no spaces, the standard e-mail format. Thank you.

Note to Visitors:
I read and respond to grief email at the end of each month when I update this site. If you need a more timely response, please visit a well moderated grief healing discussion group. It is free to use and requires registration to participate. I am not part of this group, but certified grief counselors are there to help, support and comfort grievers and those who love them. Because the counselors lost funding for the site, they are grateful for voluntary donations.
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How complicated and individual mending is,
the time required for healing
cannot be measured against any fixed calendar
Mary Jane Moffat
© Copyright 2008 - 2019 Christine Jette.
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