There is a great deal to learn on the journey of healing. I would have preferred to have skipped the reason for some of the lessons, but as we have no choice about being on this winding road, it’s a good idea to know where we are, where we’re going, and what to expect along the way. I believe that those of us traveling with the unwanted hitchhiker named “Grief” need to know how our journey will be different, and how to make the best of it.
I’d like to share several kinds of wisdom I have found important to keep me healthy and on track.
The Wisdom to Prepare
• For dates you want to remember and dates you want to forget.
• For places that were special and places that hurt.
• For people who know and people who don’t. Most of us remember the first time someone asked us “Hey, how’s _______ doing ? ” and the awkward pause while we tried to think of the best way to answer.
• For those who say the WRONG things – and those who offer comfort.
• For pictures!
Going through old pictures is like handling pieces of a broken stained glass window. Every piece is still beautiful, but every piece can cut you to the bone. Put on your gloves, concentrate on the good stuff, handle with care !
Here’s a question I sometimes ask fellow travelers: Do you hide potentially hurtful things from the grieving? From yourself?
The Wisdom to Step Back
• From looking TOO closely in the mirror
• From things that still hurt TOO much
• From the edge
Step back from the darkness and back into the light.
Step back, breath, and breath again. You might be able to avoid a prolonged battle with depression. You may need to pause long enough to see a clearer path to peace.
Ask yourself, “Can I help pull someone else back from the edge?”
The Wisdom to Speak Up
• When you need to share.
You should find a way to tell your story as often as you need to. When you find others who truly understand, listen to theirs and tell your own! It’s ok. The sharing and caring is healthy.
• When you need to ask for help.
People will give you your space and your privacy, but that’s not always what you need most.
• When you need to call time out.
Everyone has limits and everyone’s limits change. I see no reason to feel guilty about letting the people you care about know when you’ve reached yours.
Ask yourself, “When are the times when I most need to be heard?”
The Wisdom to Seek Help
• Not just once but often
• Not just in books but in music and art
• Not just from friends but from experts
• Not just for your emotions but for your body and spirit.
Ask yourself, “Where else can you find help?”
“Am I ready to offer MY help? Am I willing?
The Wisdom to Let Go
• Of “what if”
• Of “if only”
• Of “why”
Ask yourself, “What else do I need to let go of?”
“Am I able to suggest to someone else that they need to let go of something?”
The Wisdom to Hang On
• To good memories
• Good friends
Ask yourself, “What else do I need to hold on to?”
How can I help someone else to ‘hold on’ ?”
A widely recognized authority on sagacity once wrote;
” Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom, and with all thy getting, get understanding.”
I think it’s still sound advice.