“Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here.”
― Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees
Today I watched short video today on Facebook Watch by Megan Devin. In this short animated video Megan talked about how to help a friend going through difficult times.
I’ve watched this video several times today because it helped me understand a lot about my own story. My stories have cleverly evaded me all my life. By sharing them I hope to understand myself better. Some experiences are difficult to share but I share to help others who may have had similar experiences. Unless I sort through all the baggage I’ve been carrying around with me all these years, I don’t think I’ll ever be at peace. As I unpack I pray others will find a way to lessen their own load.
Here are some of the things Megan mentioned that helped me understand my own feelings about loss and grief.
We’ve all been in situations where someone we love is hurting. It’s a hard thing to watch because we feel helpless. We’ve been taught we need to find a way to make things all better–we need to fix it.
Megan discovered it’s actually better to stop trying to cheer them up. Contrary to what we believe, it is better to allow that loved one to feel their pain.
Megan quotes Palmer Parker:
“The human soul doesn’t want to be advised or fixed or saved.
It simply wants to be witnessed exactly as it is.”
We cannot make someone feel better by trying to lessen the pain they are experiencing. What does help is letting them know we understand, we know their pain is real, and the pain they feel is just as bad as we think it is.
For me, the grief I’ve suppressed over the years has become a monster. After my mom died no one ever talked about her again. She’d completely disappeared. Even as a kid I could tell people didn’t know what to say–so they said NOTHING.
I wonder if my childhood would have been any different if someone had been brave enough to ask me if I was really okay? How was I doing without my mom? Did I want to talk about her?
If someone close to you has lost a loved one, reach out to them. Be patient and allow them to be in their pain with you. Listen to them with the knowledge you cannot fix anything but you are there and you can help them heal.
” I mean, they say you die twice. One time when you stop breathing and a second time, a bit later, when somebody says your name for the last time.” ~Banksy