I Forget the Raw Pain of Grief

I forget the rawness of emotion the loss of a loved one produces in others.

It’s not intentional.  And it’s not that I’m not sensitive to it.

It’s because I don’t get to see it frequently.  People are pretty good at covering it up.  Folks avoid showing the raw emotion that they feel, both to protect themselves and those they’re with.

But there are some situations where people let down their guard and you get to see the pure, raw grief that they are experiencing.  Seeing this rawness is difficult for us.  It’s almost shocking, because we had let ourselves believe that they must be handling it so much “better.”  Instead, we see the deep pain, the raw emotion of loss.

I saw it Sunday during our service of remembrance as we took turns saying the names of those we have lost.  Tears were being shed by those saying the names.  And tears were being shed by others of us as we saw their pain.  I’ve seen the same thing in grief support groups.  Pure, raw pain.

Those are some of the few situations where people feel comfortable in letting down their guard and showing how much they are really hurting.

So I forget the rawness, because these situations don’t come around often.  And I forget the rawness because my short term memory wants to ease the pain I feel at seeing others’ pain.

But, it allows me to be freshly aware the next time I see it.  And that’s good.

  1. J Dobbs says:

    Thanks for this. I have been resisting writing of our pain on my blog for the sake of friends, who are then left with nothing to say. It is a strnge thing to understand the burden placed on others by your own pain. Yet at times, that’s all you can do.

    J Dobbs’s last blog post..A Christmas Blessing

  2. Jim Hughes says:

    I appreciate your comment, John. Often my posts are just a way for me to process what I’m encountering in my own life, and this was one of those where I was trying to make some sense of what I was feeling after our service Sunday. I think all of us do try to protect our friends from seeing our deepest pain. And maybe at the same time we are trying to protect ourselves from going there. Interestingly, and I know you probably understand this better than I, we can only go as deep with someone else into their pain as we can (or have) gone into our own pain. That’s because as we go with another into their pain, our’s is brought to the surface. That’s one of the reasons people change the subject or say something strange when they see our pain — they just can’t go there because of what’s happening within them. But maybe that’s a post for another time. Blessings to you guys this week!

  3. Jane Galbraith says:

    I totally agree with you and commend you for talking about it – not what we do well in society. That irritation prompted me to write a book about it and do presentations to “get the word out”. Info on the book can be found at http://www.trafford.com/05-2319 -Baby Boomers Face Grief. thanks for bringing the subject out in the open

  1. There are no trackbacks for this post yet.