She lost her battle with cancer, and leaves behind her partner, my friend Bobby. I’m very upset. She struggled for so many years. It doesn’t seem fair, but does it ever? I’m having a hard time expressing my sadness and anger. I know I need to cry and I just can’t. For some reason, I’ve always struggled with expressing that kind of emotion. Crying. It doesn’t come easily for me, and I don’t know why. But after my experience losing Dan, it’s become even harder for me to express grief. I think because my grief for Dan was so traumatic, I’m afraid to go down that road again.
Dear Suzy, I feel the tears welling up and my chin begins to tremble. But then I blink, shift my focus, pet the dog, clean something. Until my mind wanders back to you again. The tears haven’t fallen yet, I’m afraid to let them go. I’m sorry I wasn’t there to say goodbye. You had the best Christmas tree of anyone I’ve ever known. You were gracious and kind to everyone you met. You saved Bobby’s life. You are dearly loved. You will be sorely missed.
Grief is the normal reaction and response to loss. The loss can be due to a death, divorce, loss of a job, loss of custody of a child, or anything involving the separation of the individual from someone or something important to them. Often, when we think of grief, we only think of death, but the loss of a relationship can feel exactly like death to many people.
It can be quite scary and alarming to watch someone in the deepest throes of profound grief. Often, people will become almost paralyzed with uncertainty about how to help, or what is normal. Sometimes, normal grief can become “complicated grief” in which grief becomes debilitating and does not improve over time. In complicated grief, painful emotions are so long lasting and severe that a person cannot accept the loss and resume their life.
On the flip side, many times a grieving person will hide away the true extent of their suffering. The people around them may not know how much pain they are in, and how much support they really need.