Today is National Grief Awareness Day and even though I work in the grief/death industry, it still feels strange to have a day dedicated to grief because to those of us who have lost someone, we know that it is with us every. single. day.
There are a few things that I would like people to know about grief:
Grief never goes away. It is always there. We may grow, adapt, change, and learn to live with it, but it never goes away.
Triggers are REAL. We may think that we are "over" our loss, but one day it's as simple as walking down an aisle at Target and smelling the same perfume they wore and *BAM* you are hit by a wave of grief. And not all triggers are "bad", there can also be "good" memories that are triggered. Any and all emotions are valid.
If you are actively grieving, try to take care of yourself, any little bit helps. Drink a glass of water, take a shower, open the windows to get some fresh air, eat something you love - anything.
If you are supporting a griever, don't be afraid to say their loved ones name. The biggest thing I hear all the time as a Grief Counselor is "no one wants to talk about _____ anymore and it makes me so sad. I feel so alone." Letting them know that they can talk to you about their loved one, what happened, their grief, etc. is the best act of support you can give.
Also, stay away from cliches, they only hurt and make the griever feel like the person doesn't really care.
If you are a griever, what are some things you wish people knew? What are some things people have said to you that you wish they didn't? What are some good things people have said or done for you in the midst of your grief? We would love to hear your stories and opinions in the comments.