A Caregiver's Grief: How to Embrace Hope
H – Hold O – On P – Pain E – Ends
I like this acronym for Hope. There is nothing more final or emotional than the death of someone you loved. No matter how unexpected or predictable, death shakes us to the core. Memories of your last conversations and things you did together flood your mind and soul, while your heart aches for your loved one to be there, in front of you so that you can hold them again, or tell them you love them one more time. But, the reality is, you can’t, so you journey forward the best way you know how, one step in front of the other each day, sometimes just hoping to make it through the day. Triggers that remind you of your loved one come when you don’t expect them, and you cry again. There will be days that are better than others. It may feel like a roller coaster for a while, and then it may plateau or lessen. There is no predictable pattern, just as there is no time table. If you are grieving the loss of a loved one, don’t let anybody ever tell you “You should be over it by now.” (That is a cruel person.) It will never completely go completely away but it will lessen with time. You will be able to incorporate the pain into your heart, and continue to live and find joy in life. I like this word picture. Close your eyes and picture yourself sitting on a comfy soft sofa reading a book in a warm cozy room. There’s a fire in the fireplace. You look at the window because outside there’s a terrible blizzard blowing. The window blows open and the cold freezing snow floods the room. It’s so cold! A few minutes later it happens again, but this time the window doesn’t open quite as wide. The next time it’s even smaller, and so on. Each time the surges take you down a little less. That’s how grief often is. It comes unexpectedly, but little by little, but each time the sting isn’t quite as bad.
IF you’re grieving the loss of a loved one, get bereavement counseling. You aren’t meant to walk this journey alone. Community Hospice and Palliative Care has wonderful bereavement counselors. Contact one. Let us help you.