What We Learn from Others

Hikers along the 2175-mile Appalachian Trail admit that it’s often a lonely, difficult walk. What helps from time to time, they will say, is when they come across other hikers. For a while they don’t feel so all alone. And in the exchange of information about the trail ahead they receive an encouraging insight about the journey they are on.

Perhaps the same is true when we’re in grief. Knowing what others have experienced in their grief can support us in the hope and effort that we, too, can make our way. In this respect, the following are comments that people have made in our support groups here at Hospice:

“…. I knew that grief makes you sad, what I didn’t realize is that it also makes you
stupid….”
a mother whose son was killed, talking about her forgetfulness and lack of concentration

“…. the winter after he died was the coldest winter of my life….”
a wife whose husband died, referring to the physical, psychological, and emotional devastation
of the loss of her companion

“…. I talk to her all the time…that helps….”
a husband whose wife died, acknowledging that he still has conversations with her, sometimes
quiet, sometimes out loud

“…. the whole period, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day is like an emotional
minefield…. I’m doing fine, then I hear or see or smell something and my grief seems
to explode in me….”
a woman whose sister died, talking about how some days are harder than others

“…. when I feel like I’m going to lose my mind I go outside…. just being out in the air
helps….”
a husband whose wife died, describing some of the things he does to deal with the anxiety
and depression of grief

“….I have good days and bad days, it’s like a roller coaster….I want to feel better….”
just about everyone will say this from time to time

We are each on our own path in grief. No one else can possibly understand completely what that experience is like for us. But it can be reassuring to know that this is a path that everyone will walk from time to time. And we can walk it together.