Everyone, at some point in their lives, encounters a struggle or tragic event. We all deal in different ways. Being on the receiving end of support and encouragement has definitely been a learning experience. Throughout this process of "grief," I've observed a lot of things about myself and those around me. I am grateful and lucky to have so many friends and family that I know care about me so much. Sharing our story on social media has made me realize I have more support than I ever imagined. Social media is great in that way.
This list is not all inclusive, and often people are more than one of these "kinds." In my experience, most people fall into one or more of these categories, based on their past experiences, their personalities, and how they process and deal with a tragedy.
- The fixer. This is the type of person who wants to fix whatever happened to you. They may say things like, “God has a plan.” “You will have more children, I just know it.” “Everything happens for a reason.” These people mean well. They probably mean more well than I’ll ever know. But sometimes, you can’t fix things. Things just are. And will be. And there’s nothing you can do about it.
- The avoider. This type of person avoids you or avoids talking to you about the uncomfortable thing that happened to you. This sucks and hurts a lot. I’m still me. Yes, I’m different because I lost a huge part of me, but I’m still here. Please don’t avoid me. It only hurts worse when you treat me differently, don’t call or reach out, or don’t feel comfortable bringing up my son. It’s uncomfortable for me too, but it’s my reality. When someone does say his name, or ask me about him, it about makes my heart explode. He’s not here, but he’ll always be with us and I’m seeing now that the only way to keep his memory alive is to continue to talk about him.
- The do-er. These are people that will do anything for you in your time of need. And do. They bring your supper. They organize other people to bring you supper. They clean your house, check in on you, make phone calls for you, go to target for you, and the list goes on. These are great people, but can be overwhelming to the grief goer. So if you’re a do-er, keep doing…just be mindful of who you’re doing for and if it’s helping or hindering. A good way to know…just ask. Without these people in my life, I wouldn’t have made it through. Thank you, you all know who you are.
- The comforter. These are the people that hug you. Support you. Continue to check on you even though it’s been 7 months. They send you cards. They shoot you texts out of the blue. They listen to you. They ask how you’re doing and genuinely care what your answer might be. They invite you to get out of the house. They make time for you and force you to be social, even when all you want to do is curl up on the couch and do nothing. Some of the things that have meant the most have come from the most unexpected people in my life--I really cherish that.
- The sympathizer. These are the people that have been through what you’re going through and now have a deeper connection to you because they get it. They have felt and are feeling what you feel. They have different stories, different experiences, but you have a bond. A similar connection of loss. They just understand. I’ve gained some great friendships in this journey of loss and for that I am grateful.
There are several different types of people, all have their place and time in your grief journey. For those of you who have a loved one or friend dealing with a loss, reach out. Be there for them, even if it's uncomfortable and you don't know what to do. Tell them that, most likely they'll help you know what to do.
I've learned so much from this side of grief and hope what I've learned will only help my relationships.
And quoted from my sister in law, "That's what life is really about isn't it....relationships."