On Grief

Last week, someone I regard as family passed away.  I ditched my Pure Barre challenge, took a week off work and flew across the country to be with the family.  On my flight over, I kept thinking about what to say to the family, but failed to find any words.

I picked out two books for the family, but felt reluctant giving the books to them after I realized that they didn’t actually want to read anything in the self-help genre at the moment.

The days felt long but eventful.  I sat in silent grief and tears, listened in to the stories, did chores around the house, bought groceries and walked along a whole lot of retail therapy…

I didn’t know what else to do.  However, after the memorial service, I felt a relief because I realized that the family would move on with their lives carrying the memories of the loved one. I also felt extremely fortunate to reconnect with the family.

Here are the wise words on grieving:

Dr. Paul Kalanithi left this message for his infant daughter in this memoir When Breath Becomes Air: “when you come to one of the many moments in life when you must give an account of yourself, provide a ledger of what you have been, and done, and meant to the world, do not, I pray, discount that you filled a dying man’s days with a sated joy, a joy unknown to me in all my prior years, a joy that does not hunger for more and more, but rests, satisfied. In this time, right now, that is an enormous thing”.

“Sometimes we can offer a cure, sometimes only a salve, sometimes not even that. But whatever we can offer, our interventions, and the risks and sacrifices they entail, are justified only if they serve the larger aims of a person’s life. When we forget that, the suffering we inflict can be barbaric. When we remember it the good we do can be breathtaking.”
― Atul Gawande, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

“Grief does not change you, Hazel. It reveals you.”
― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

Are you missing someone today?  What makes you feel comforted and loved?

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