Why do we stop asking about each other’s well-being after a while?
Everyone does this. I do this. When something truly tragic or saddening occurs in someone else’s life, we are initially all over it. We offer up prayers and well-wishes; we set up meal rotations to lessen the load; we donate money or gift cards to relieve some stress. These are just a few of the many awesome things people do for one another.
It seems to restore our faith in mankind.
I’m not saying to stop this all together. I think it’s wonderful and try to contribute to this outpouring of love whenever I can.
Who decides when enough is enough?
Inevitably, the charitable acts will cease. They should. It seems that after a long enough period of time, the person or family receiving the love would be alright to stand on their own again. Is there a general rule for when enough is enough?
Does anyone consider what this abrupt removal of extra support does to someone already living in grief? When I speak of grief, I’m not just talking about death. In life, we experience tragedies that don’t end in death but definitely have grief hooked to its belt loops.
When someone is living with grief, usually in the beginning there was a moment or time span of disbelief or shock. During that blurry stage when everything right flipped left and everything up flipped down, people swarmed to help. When he or she was being hurled into the grief pool, people stood along the edge to make sure no one drowned.
Where did all of those people go?
I remember right after losing Wyatt being overwhelmed with people offering anything under the sun. I was thankful, overwhelmed but thankful. We were very fortunate that we had “bouncers.” These few people kept the masses at bay but became the go-between for us and the people surrounding us. I also very vividly remember when they left. I went from feeling alone in a crowded room to just being alone. I figured that they thought I needed my alone time. I guess they all assumed I was safe to swim in the deep end, alone.
Here’s the thing. I wasn’t alone. My husband and I weren’t abandoned. Our parents still checked on us. We have a few very close friends that never let us go and even stepped up their game once the hysteria had disappeared. The people who “left” were and still are wallflowers in our lives. We are blessed beyond imagination and won’t ever forget that.
There are so many people not as fortunate as we are though. For some people, tragedy isolates them, literally. No one comes to help. No one even offers a genuine condolence. For some, they are instantly surrounded and then in the blink of an eye, stranded. Many people think that if a tragedy occurs and there is a married couple in the midst, they have each other. They don’t need others. True but wrong. They do have each other, but they are on individual paths of emotional stability and recovery. They still need others, individually and as a unit.
Be someone’s wallflower. Heck, be someone’s vine, their lifeline.
Bringing meals, donating money, starting prayer chains, and all of the other grand gestures are great and will be appreciated. They aren’t necessary though. If all you have to offer is you, that is enough. As you notice or think you are needed less, you can step back step, but be direct. Let he or she know that you aren’t going anywhere, you’re just giving them wiggle room. With Love- Heather