That’s the phrase I hear people thinking when I tell them I’m still dealing with my mother’s death. Most folks have stopped asking how I’m doing with my grief. Those who haven’t experienced a significant loss assume death is like a break-up — something you just get over. But you don’t get over it so much as learn to live with the loss, and most of us grievers bumble through that learning curve quite badly and have a bitch of a time getting our lives back, myself included.
I left my life in Los Angeles to move home and take care of my mom while she was dying, and now that I’ve returned I’m still jobless and struggling after two years. Grief derails you (so does a shitty economy), and though it feels like after experiencing such a bad thing you deserve the basics (job, rent, love) to go your way, life doesn’t do us any favors. There is only luck, and sometimes unlucky periods of our lives stretch for years.
But then there are the people who “get it.” They make forward movement possible.
Cary Tennis of Salon.com qualifies. His “Since You Asked” column always offers useful advice. He told this to a woman looking for ways to support her grieving daughter-in-law…
Just never forget. She may be grieving for a long time; let her grieve as long as she grieves. There may come a time when other people have moved on and yet she is still raw. Three years from now, five years from now, a decade from now, everyone else may have moved on, yet her wound may still be fresh. It takes as long as it takes. Keep doing what you are doing, remain alert to her fragile feelings, and remember that her sadness will last a long time…The one thing you can do is remember when others forget.
Others do and will continue to forget. It’s not their responsibility to remember your loss. But it’s your job to remind them, and to stop beating yourself up for not feeling like your “old self.” That person is gone. There is no getting her back. And if you could, would you really want her?