1. No body grieves the same. Ever. My grief is mine. I have not yet met someone who knows the pain of losing my husband. Who knows the pain of losing a husband who didn't quite meet the 'right' definition of an injured Marine, didn't exactly commit suicide, wasn't exactly diagnosed with psycho-social issues other than PTSD. He was just not enough of anything that I couldn't get anyone to see what I saw, and help me save him.
2. In a group of people, I still feel alone. And yet, can still can panic attacks at both Safeway, and in my own bed.
3.On the bad days, it’s ok to know that I can count my blessings, or demons, by minutes: I made it past that minute. I can make it one more. This is just a bad day. There will be a new one tomorrow.
4. Some people mean well and will say dumb, hurtful things. Dumb people just still say dumb things.
5. One might feel that the ‘Stages of Grief’ are restricting and pigeon-holing, or one might find solace in them, validation. Or both, depending on the day.
6. Take the help while it’s offered. People soon skip out, and forget, don't call. Don't text.
7. I must be gentel on myself. Be good to myself. Must take care of me.
8. Cry. It’s ok. Let it flow. Let it all out.
9. Grief comes in waves. When I don’t expect it. When you’re driving and there’s a song. When you’re shopping and can’t find the soup. When you’re alone. When you’re surrounded. Grief is now part of journey. It’s ok. Embrace the pain, it is your pain, and you own it, and it honors your struggle and loss. And it will come and go. And slowly it will fade. It will come back to visit. But you don’t NEED to hold on to it.
10. Honor the lost. Wallowing is ok. Don’t live there forever, but honoring is good. Pictures, creativity, movement, dedication.
11. People move on. You feel your life has ended, and you watch everyone else’s life moving forward.
12. Find LOVE. In nature, in helping, in poetry, in music, in church, in painting, in how you speak with strangers.
13. Everyone you need will probably let you down. Do NOT base your needs or expectations on the shoulders of others.
14. Time does not heal all wounds. Time creates distance, and other people not directly impacted forget, which gives the illusion that things are moving in a 'better' direction. Time allows for self reflection, and some closure, but it doesn't heal.
15. Beauty can come from ashes. It takes hard work. Discernment. Prayer. Faith. Good Friends and Family.