Kid Looking Through Hole Afraid

Overcoming Grief

Today’s blog post comes from a beautiful writer named Satya Kahn.

Satya’s writing style is romantic and poetic, but her content is heavy and honest. These factors combined make for an engaging read that’s worth sharing.

Please continue along for 3 ways to support someone who is grieving.

Guest Blog, By Satya Kahn:

At the end of my second pregnancy, my mom was diagnosed with metastatic pancreatic cancer. She braved six months of intense chemotherapy before passing away on January 3, 2013, when my baby was five months old.

After diagnosis, near the Fourth of July, we spent a lot of time together. My belly was huge and my husband on vacation; soon both of these things would change. Mom took me to lunch at the Little Red House, where we cried about all the things we would miss while I ate a large plate of French toast. Then she bought me quiche and pastries to go, to bring home for our dinner.

She wasn’t afraid, though, even at the end. She didn’t hang on as some do. I can’t reconcile how a person as attached to her life as she was could accept its end so bravely. She only said how sad she was, but I found her grace astonishing. I didn’t believe it could go like that until I saw it with my own eyes.

I continue on into the space of her absence, which now marks me forever. I make a new routine for days we would have spent together. In a rare moment alone I take down the trash, and the air is mild perfection. I am full of her loss, yet overtaken by the sunset. The natural world seduces me back into living. I didn’t believe it could be like this until it happened to me.

If someone in your life is experiencing illness or grief, here are three ways to support them:

  1. Check With Your Conscience
    • If you’re worried about not doing enough, you probably aren’t. It can be intimidating to get involved with serious illness and loss, especially if you’ve never been through it before. Ask yourself the hard question of whether your reluctance is your own fear of doing the wrong thing. It’s better to offer support, even if you bungle it – and chances are, the recipient will be grateful for your efforts.
  2. Just Show Up – With Food
    • You don’t have to cook an elaborate meal – easy is just fine. When our friends have babies, we drop off a six-pack of good beer and a pie. Your mileage may vary! But it’s the company that counts, not the food. It’s fine to ask the recipient what they would like, but don’t make them think too hard. Say, “I’d like to bring you lunch. How about Saturday? Are sandwiches OK?”
  3. Listen
    • With grief and illness, there is no good thing to say. “How are you?” is a good start. Your loved one may want to talk, or may not. Stay open to what they are experiencing. And don’t be afraid to share in the silence. Sometimes that’s the best thing you can do.

This piece is one of many that Satya Kahn writes on grief, motherhood, and other themes. For more information about Satya or to subscribe to her newsletter, please visit http://www.systemlover.com.

If this post resonates with you, please let us know in the comments below and share it with someone who needs this information right now.

To mending broken pieces,
Josephine

About the Author

Josephine Bila

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I’m Josephine Bila, LMSW, a licensed social worker for you — the health seeker who craves an energized body, strong relationships, and the willpower to overcome any obstacle.

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Comments

  1. Noah White

    Wow! Thank you! I permanently needed to write on my blog something like that. Can I implement a fragment of your post to my blog?

    1. Jo

      Thank you, Noah! Yes, go ahead. If you do, please create a link back to the full story on my website and give proper credit to the author.

  2. Kareem Karassery

    What is grief?Who are suffering this?What is the maximum level of grief?. Yesterday i went to my friend’s house to share the grief of his family.He has three children.Two of them suffering from Thalassaemia Major.He is living in a small hut without any job and other means of day today life.Now the polititions and medias are celebrating that his eight year old elder daughter has infected HIV through blood transfusion.What kind of tip we can apply to overcoming this like gruesome grief?
    Kareem Karassery
    Gen.Convener,
    Blood Patients Protection Council
    Phoenix Sailam
    P.O.Karassery
    Vai.Mukkam
    Calicut.673602
    Kerala, India

    1. Jo

      Hi Kareem, I’m sorry to hear about your friend’s troubles. That situation sounds extremely difficult and like none I or anyone I know has experienced. The tip to overcoming such gruesome grief is not one that is easily heard, but this is what I will say: each day that his children are alive should be celebrated and cherished. Things cannot be turned around to be different, so there is no point in living in that type of mindset. Cherish the sun, the wind, the very small things that are actually quite big because they surround us all and remind us how small we are. Do not look to the future. Do not look in the past and say “If only I hadn’t done…” Just be thankful for each moment because that is all we ever have.

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