Grief can consume you at any point in your life, and usually from the loss of a loved one (family members, friends and pets). There’s really no way to prepare for it. Obviously not an emotion sought after, but one every human will experience during their life. Some people have trouble picking the shattered pieces up and forging on. Others can use the experience to fuel cause and deliver outreach for many others suffering in the same way. Most people fall in the middle where they’re affected for a while and they find a way to continue life, forever changed but marching forward. We’re all fragile and unique in our own ways, but grief is a natural part of life that we must be aware of. No matter where you land on the grief scale, you’ll require some self-care and the love from others to heal properly.
A Cause Fueled from Grief
Her only warning was left side pain under her ribs that radiating to her back. Thank God for the excruciating pain which lead her to insist on getting a CT scan when her doctor wanted to do nothing. Darla was suffering from Pancreatic Cancer and didn’t know it until it was too late. Less than a year later she would leave her daughter Shannon behind.
There’s no doubt that this would be the worst loss of Shannon’s life, not only because it was her Mother, but because they were best friends. She started the grieving process well before her mother passed. There was so much unknown; would the chemo work? Would she go into remission? Was she destined to be another statistic?
Darla insisted on planning for the PANCAN “Purple Stride” walk that year. She would never get to see the impact her journey had on others, but Shannon promised, no matter what, that she would continue to fight for others through the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. Now, 3 years later, Shannon sits as the Affiliate Chair for PANCAN in San Diego.
Grief Lessens Over Time
At first, Shannon’s loss was overwhelming and tough to function. She describes it coming and going in waves. It’s not something you can just set aside and walk away from. When someone has been a part of your life for so long, the thought of them will never leave. The hurt will subside for periods of time, but it always comes back. It just stings a little less each time.
Some feel guilty for continuing to live their life, not allowing happiness to exist like before. This can be a natural pattern for grief, but not a healthy ongoing response. The Loved one lost wouldn’t want you to punish yourself this way. There are ways to honor them and remember them in a positive light while you still enjoy all this life has to offer:
- Create a remembrance spot with photos and personal items.
- Donate to a specific cause they would approve of
- set up a fund in their name
- Commission Portrait Artwork of them.
- Create an event to remember their greatness.
“Sometimes I just look up, smile and say ‘I know that was you’ ”
“I know you feel broken, so I won’t tell you to have a wonderful day. Instead I whisper these words to you ‘just hold on’. As the darkest days of grief start to get less, the sun will rise again for you“
“But in all of the sadness, when you’re feeling that your heart is empty, and lacking, you’ve got to remember that grief isn’t the absence of love. Grief is the proof that love is still there.”
Healing: Ways to Help with Grief
- Check in regularly on those that have lost a loved one
- Talk to a grief counselor
- Join support groups – there are lots of disease specific, trauma specific and age specific groups in the area.
- Be Open to feeling – it’s common to push things down deep within, DON’T. Face your feelings in a healthy outlet.
- Accept help – Your family and friends want to participate in the act of comforting you through grief, let them.
If you or someone you care about needs a kind and understanding visitor because they cannot stop grieving. Ask for help from family first. If family lives too far or works too often, call us to schedule a No Obligation CAREConsult™ with a Love Right™ Care Service Representative.