Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Breakups and manners...and the friends we need...

A card from my travels (artist unknown)

It has been a time of reflection for me lately.  After a distressing personal break I have encountered the generous support of my family and friends in so many ways.  They have all truly inspired me to question and verify the value of friendship, loyalty, the ability to share confidences and tears…and to want to give back more than I have been given by them all.

After some time my heart is feeling as if it could begin to heal. And as most of us do, we look forward as much as we can.  There are a plethora of websites to give us the emotional tools to use; to share with others in similar situations; to offer sympathy and condolence…and the advice that a few extra wines each day can help…

But the best advice is from those who care.  In times of crisis we often reach out to those closest and they are supportive, considerate, kind and aware of the pain.  But everyone is so busy these days, that I believe most of us feel that we really should not impose for longer than is necessary on the kindness, and willing consideration of our family and friends.

Another card ( artist unknown)

And it is when we realise that we have to stand alone, in altered routines and communication levels, that the evenings become longer, the time spent listening to music becomes more important, as does the reading of good, and bad, literature to which we relate. 

After some of my recent posts about personal loss I have been contacted by people from all over the world about how we should respond to others who commiserate with us during periods of grief.

My manners have been sorely tested at times by the well meaning comments of friends.  Until I emotionally realised that the prince had morphed into a frog, I still took exception, while knowing that the statements were well meaning and well intentioned.  It is the question of manners which is rarely addressed in situations of grief. Can one say “I appreciate your comments, but just not right now…please give me some time?”  Yes, of course we can.  Consideration for the emotions of others is a two-way street, as they say.

I have had readers, who have suffered insurmountable grief through the death of a loved one, ask me what to do when all they want is to remain closeted, away from the well intentioned commiserations but understanding that they need friends…but maybe not just now, in this hour, on this day…and is it polite to close the door for a little while? Yes, absolutely.  And explanations may be left to another time.

While my recent loss was a personal one, the death of a loved one is so much more complex. I have both of my children,  not my parents, but my extended family. I am truly blessed.  I have tried to console friends who have lost children, siblings, spouses, parents…I wonder if they would rather I had not and rather allowed them to shut the door and open it when they were ready?

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