Do you dream? Do you remember what you dream? I dream a lot and I often remember the dream…at least for a while. The bad part is that sometimes I have nightmares. I had one last night. Mine are not about monsters chasing me or falling off a building. I wish they were. I could deal with that better.
My nightmares have to do with trying to help my mother and my aunt. (both deceased) The dreams are sad and frustrating. I struggle to solve whatever is going on with no success. It makes me wonder if this is some leftover guilt for something I regret not doing for them. I cared for them in their last days and was with each of them when they died.
As a part of grieving we tend to guilt ourselves for being human. Of course I have regrets but my care for them was the what I was able to do. I did all that I could. Sometimes we just can’t let it go. I remember crying hysterically in the dream ….so frustrated that nothing I tried worked.
Now wide awake I have to understand that grief comes in waves when we least expect it. This time it surfaced in my nightmare years after both of them died. It is still there and will crop up again. Loss becomes a scar but sometimes the scar hurts. That is normal.
This is a re-blog of something I wrote a while ago. It came up recently and so I thought it needed to be said again.
People can say stupid things. It is amazing to me that they don’t really think about what they are saying. When I ran a grief support group I heard some goodies.
You can have another baby (to someone who just had a miscarriage)
God needed another angel in heaven ( to someone who lost a child)
Your husband wouldn’t want you to be sad (to a new widow)
I’m sure things are better now (to someone whose wife died a few months ago)
God never gives us more than we can handle (to someone who lost two teenagers in an accident)
Everything will be alright (to someone diagnosed with a fatal illness)
Sometimes when we don’t know what to say we can fall into the trap of saying something stupid or offensive. We may not mean it that way but that is how it comes out. When people are going through tough times they don’t need to hear these kind of answers. They need to hear
Can I bring dinner by tomorrow?
I’m going to a movie tomorrow can I pick you up?
I am so sorry
I will call you soon (only if you really will)
Give a hug
Cry with them
Solid concrete help is what is needed. Only say what you mean. If you can help try to do something specific. Don’t just say “how can I help?” Instead ask if you can pick up children, run an errand, offer a day out. Each individual needs different things. You have to gauge what will help.
Most importantly offer compassion and love. Nothing is more needed. If you have suffered a similar loss you may understand better what they are going through but don’t assume it will be exactly the same. Just being there is critical. Don’t just say something…..do something!
In the midst of life we are in death. This phrase is often heard at funerals. What does this mean? It is a reminder that life and death are linked. From the moment we are born we are dying. That is not morbid it is just the truth. In fact, from the moment we are conceived we are dying. We are set into motion like the winding of a clock. At some point it will wear down and stop. In our world it can be snuffed out by an illness, accident or crime but nevertheless we each have an expiration date.
Some cultures accept this fact easier than those of us in the western world. We worry about death. We can feel fear and panic just thinking about it.
Before I was a nurse I had ideas about death. I never wanted to think about it or be with someone at their death. After being at many deaths I have changed my feelings. I have seen people in so much distress that death is a friend.
Most of the people I have been with just slipped quietly away. No anxiety, no visible fear. Some spoke to relatives on the other side. Whether they really saw them I don’t know but I would like to think they did. Some expressed peace.
A long time ago I complained to a minister friend that I was upset about the death of a child in an accident. I fumed that her life had been cut short. He said he had a different perspective. He viewed each person’s life as a candle that burned until it went out. That could be when the candle is completely burned or just after it is lit. Each person has a life span that is different. This view was a comfort to me and still is.
Death is not something to fear. When we remove that from our minds life becomes brighter. It is not easy to do and we may waver from time to time. It is difficult to imagine not being alive and can produce sadness when we wish we would still be around to see grandchildren or great grandchildren marry and have children of their own.
No matter our age and the length of life no one wants to be gone. Life is beautiful in spite of any trials we face. The important thing is to treasure each moment and when we come to the end say “I have lived!”
Once again the things that happen here in the US fascinate and appall me. Years ago when teaching about suicide one fact that usually made people think was that the suicide rate among survivors is higher than others. It seems that the message of suicide is that if you can’t cope this is a way out.
I am wondering if the same mindset is encouraging all these random shootings. Have they seen others do this and see it as a solution? Are these people really our to kill strangers to appease some mental aberration, or is it a wish for suicide by cop to end their pain? Quite a few have been soldiers with possible PTSD but why did their anguish lead to random shooting? Were they suffering a flash back and saw those people as the enemy? The sad part it that we will never know
There are so many question and so few answers. Since so many of the killers end up dead there is no one to ask. Some want to blame weapons and there may be a link but if you really want a gun you can get one. I don’t think there is any way to remove all the weapons entirely.
I wish that we knew what to do to end this violence with pain for the families killed and the shooters family. No one wins.
So many questions…so few answers.
When we experience the loss of someone or something truly significant to we can be overwhelmed. Sometimes numbness sets in and we are separate from things going on around us. When the grief begins to explode our psyche we don’t know what to do to help. There is a danger at this point. We want so badly to help the pain that we can reach out to things that can put a band aid on the hurt for awhile. Sometimes those things are knee jerk reactions and end up adding to our emotional crisis. That is why most advice says don’t do anything hasty. Usually the advice is about selling a house or moving. But there are other things that can crop up.
One thing we seek during immediate grief is connections. We need others to see our pain. Most of the time people don’t know what to say or how to help. Many say the wrong things. There will be some who understand the things that you really need. Hold them close…they are your lifeline.
If this happens to us early in life ..losing a spouse or loved one…we so want the grief to relent that it is easy to dive into another relationship thinking that is the answer. I have a friend who lost her husband early on and had two disastrous marriages before stepping back and eventually making a loving and lasting connection. She just wanted the pain to stop.
Grief is not an easy thing and it does not follow the same pattern for everyone. Small things can cause waves of pain.. a smell, a song, an event. There are so many more.
There will be life following. It is fine to laugh, have good days and momentarily put thoughts of your love from your mind. Don’t be guilty. You are allowed to go on. You still have God given life and you can live it.