I must admit, the title of this post is a little misleading, mostly because I believe there is no wrong way to grieve (I wouldn’t suggest breaking laws though). Today I am attending the funeral of someone I knew their whole life. Someone years younger than me. It has me thinking a lot about grief and things I’ve learned.
My life has been marked by much loss, especially young people (mostly 18-25ish). It started when I was 15 and my 22 year old manager died. Five years later, I lost a very dear friend. After that, it seemed like someone near my age or younger passed away every year for several years. I have lost family. I have lost friends. Every loss teaches me something different. And I deal with every loss differently. The biggest thing that I have learned is to live every day as if you aren’t promised tomorrow (which you aren’t). I can happily say that I have lived this way. I really don’t have any regrets. So whether you are going through a fresh loss or one that happened years ago, here are some things I’ve learned and hopefully encourage you.
There is absolutely no time limit on grief. Don’t let anyone tell you that you aren’t “moving on” fast enough, or “that still bothers you?!” There are still songs that I hear from a loss 15 years ago that make me want to ugly cry, no matter where I am.
Don’t be ashamed to cry.
Don’t feel bad if you can’t or don’t cry.
Don’t worry if you don’t know what to say to others walking through a loss. Most of the time, a big, long hug is the answer.
Don’t question someone else’s choices in how they want to grieve. Some want to honor those lost by wearing white or red or pink to their funeral. Bret has told me multiple times to wear something bright. Let this also be a shout out if either Bret or I goes, you are welcome and encouraged to wear bright colors and/or jeans. I have processed each loss differently. Sometimes that looks like attending every viewing, gathering, whatever. Sometimes that means not going to anything. Sometimes it’s a mix of both. Having attended so many funerals and viewings and memorials, I know what to expect, and I can judge how I will emotionally react, and sometimes it’s best if I don’t go. Sometimes people will want to celebrate by sprinkling ashes. Sometimes people will celebrate the life by making a big change in their own. Or by making a big donation.
Wherever you find yourself today, I pray that you are held tight with encouragement, that you are holding on to the good memories, that you are processing in your own time, that you are surrounded by people that understand where you are, and aren’t rushing you.
If songs help, here are two that encourage me, and I want at least For Miles to be played at my funeral. (Note, if you aren’t into harder music, when it goes instrumental, go ahead and stop it.)
And this one by All Time Low has been playing on repeat in my brain the last few days.
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