The Isolation of Grief

By: Aurora Castiglia
Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Grief comes in a thousand different ways. The grief of a painful diagnosis, the grief of an ended relationship, the grief of mental illness, the grief of natural disasters, the grief of war, the grief of a loved one lost. I could easily tell you how I expect you ought to be feeling, I can talk about the pain hypothetically to cover possible scenario. But there’s a fact that I’d be forgetting. I don’t truly understand your specific grief.

No one understands what you’re going through. How could they? And when no one understands, it's hard to hold on to the people that were once so close to you. It becomes all too easy to become isolated.

Grief is wholly unique, and I can promise you that I truly do not understand what you’re going through. But I can promise you something. I know grief. Every person reading this post has known grief. Every person who’s gone to a support group, who’s met at a Coffee Hour or Butterfly Release at Lakeside Memorial Funeral Home, who’s existing in the world, we’ve known the pain of losing something so terribly important to us. Even if I can’t fully understand what you are going through, I can fully support you, and I can fully be there for you. Because I know how it feels for no one to be able to understand my pain.

Let us look at the words of the great Mr. Rogers. Mr. Rogers had a popular TV show that touched the hearts of so many young people, and their parents, with lessons of communication, love, and being neighbors with everyone you meet. When he was young, and the world around him was rocked with tragedy, him mother would tell him: “Always look for the helpers. There’s always someone who is trying to help.” And he would. In cases of natural disasters, there were volunteers rushing to rebuild houses, to send supplies, to give first aid. There are children raising money for clothes and food for people they never met. There’s food drives and soup kitchens, free clinics and free haircuts, music lessons and art supplies for schools that can’t afford them. The whole world was filled with people asking, “Won’t you be my neighbor?”

So now, at the end of this post, I need to ask something of you. I need you to look for helpers. Because they are there, in their subtle and unexpected ways. They’re asking if you need company to go shopping, they’re bringing you food when they think you need a good meal, they’re driving you to your appointments, they’re inviting you to the movies, they’re asking if you ever want to call and talk about everything and nothing. And if you don’t want to do anything, a lot of pain is made easier if you just have someone keeping you company. Help comes from friends, from family, from doctors, from strangers on Facebook, from neighbors. Look for the helpers.

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