A Note To Grieving Mothers
Recently, a dear friend lost her father. She didn’t tell us until two days later, and when she did, she asked us not to contact, call, text, or otherwise blow up her inbox.
I understand where she was coming from. After Kathryn died, I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I didn’t feel I had it in myself to carry on any kind of normal conversation with anyone. And honestly, it was just exhausting. Most of the people I talked to didn’t know what to say, and, now, years removed, I realize how difficult it is to try and help.
But I felt like I often spent time comforting them, and I also didn’t want to answer the questions, “What can I do to help?” or “What do you need?” ONE MORE TIME.
I didn’t know what I needed or how they could help. I was barely breathing.
We needed to eat.
The house needed cleaning.
I had small children that needed caring for.
The groceries needed to be bought.
Laundry needed to be done.
I just wanted to scream, “Figure it out!” But that would have been rude. So I shut them out.
Until the day I realized I was lonely and I wanted help and company, but everyone else had returned to their regularly programmed lives, and then I was just alone.
So, despite my friend’s request to just leave her alone, I messaged her anyway. I told her I didn’t want to deal with people after Kathryn either. But I also told her that it’s not too late when she realizes she doesn’t want to be alone… I’m still here, ready and willing to help, listen, whatever. In the meantime, I’ll take it upon myself to send her gift cards for food and services that can help her when she doesn’t want to ask for or receive help.
But, on the other hand of the coin, it really led me to want to write a post to YOU, the grieving mother who is like I was, and just wants to be left alone. But you don’t really, do you? You just don’t want to have to answer questions, comfort other people, or help them figure out how to help you. Right? Because that’s exhausting. If you’re like me, you want people to just HELP.
My message to others is this: figure it out. Just help. Pick something from the list above (depending on your relationship with the grieving person) and DO it.
For the grieving parent: LET THEM HELP. You NEED help right now. And other people, they are just beside themselves wanting to be there for you, but not knowing what to do.
My own father passed away two months ago. Exactly two months ago today, as a matter of fact. A girlfriend of mine reached out and asked if she could bring me dinner. I felt guilty accepting it, because I wasn’t nearly in the same position as I’d been in after my daughter died. So I told her no.
There are two problems with this.
One: sometimes you can feel okay one day and then grief bitch smacks you and you don’t even want to get out of bed. And it sure would have been nice to not have to worry about feeding my children on those days. I regretted saying no a couple of days later when the shock had passed, my inlaws were gone, and I was suddenly grief stricken.
Two: I live in the South. As another friend reminded me, when someone we love is hurting and we don’t know what else to do, we cook. It’s how we show love and support. So if someone wants to cook a meal, let them do it. Because they don’t know what else to do and they NEED to do something. Just like you would WANT to do for them if they were hurting.
So, mama, let them help you. It’s okay to accept help and even ask for it if you need it (but I know, we don’t want to do that!). It’s okay to admit to people that you need them to figure it out.
If you’re grieving and someone wants to help you, let them. It’s not only for you, it’s for them too. And you may realize later, you needed more help in that time than you thought.
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Liv saysJune 10, 2018 at 8:29 pm
Funny – this is the second post I’ve read about this today. The other was about a girl who moved into a new apartment just as Hernandez father died and she couldn’t unpack. She also refused help. But her friend saw what she needed and organized and unpacking brigade. They brought food. And they didn’t listen when she told them she didn’t want them there. Because they knew they were needed. And she was glad they did. So this is something I will do. Hugs Kat.