Welcome to Mother’s Backyard Buzz, #empathyforgrief podcast #5 – A Secret Society where we “break the silent struggle” around grief by unpacking my book: “My Backyard Garden – A Memoir of How Love Conquers Grief”.
I am the author and your host, Debra Hester. If you’re following along in the book, I’m still unpacking the Introduction. I haven’t gotten to Chapter One yet so you’re not behind by any means. My goal is to move us deeper into what I included and didn’t include in my book that speaks to this journey we all take – called grief.
The Grief Injury
Struggle and grief in the same sentence is not hard to believe. Where there is pain, there is a desire and need to recover, to be without pain. It can be physical injury or emotional injury. Very few recoveries are easy, we struggle. The deeper or more extensive the injury, it seems to be more pain associated with it and a longer more difficult road to recovery.
Grief is painful, I felt like it was an emotional injury. In my book, I called it heart-death, heart-break didn’t seem to be intense enough for me. I even anticipated scaring as a part of my recovery. In my pain, I felt crippled too. My spirit crippled. I would go out into the world and felt like I had something that was affecting me; but no one else could see it.
When you have physical injuries, they are visible. People see it and may respond to it both positively or negatively depending on the person but they do recognize it. How do we recognize grief? How do we see grief and show grief in today’s world is what I’d like to explore. Especially in the U. S. and other western cultures.
Black – The Color of Grief
Back in the day, black was the color of mourning; but what is the color of grieving? That ongoing feeling where some days it’s there and other days it’s not. Do you ever wonder as I do, what do I wear on my grieving days? I could totally relate to when people wore black as a sign that you were grieving. While in some modern funerals, some families decide to wear white; my family work black to my mother’s funeral and I only wanted to wear black clothes for sometime after that. But wearing black after a while becomes meaningless as a way to show I’m grieving today.
Since wearing black is not the “give-away” for grief, how do we know when people are grieving? Well, what I realized was there is a secret society. There I was, feeling alone, thinking that it was only me and my family and maybe some friends who were on this grief journey. But there is this secret society that emerged. As I wrote in my book, My Backyard Garden, A Memoir of How Love Conquers Grief, it emerged out of conversations with strangers.
Sharing With Strangers
Have you shared with a stranger that you recently lost your loved one? I did and it feels sort of strange at first. I didn’t want pity or sympathy from the person. They just happened to be the soul that was present when grief hit me. What amazed me was most, not all had a grief story to share of their own. It was told in a way that said, I understand, it’s OK, I’ve been there too.
Each time grief hits in the presence of strangers and it din’t always happen that way, I became more and more comfortable and also curious and open to if they would share their personal grief story.
It became sort of a mission…finding another soul who was in the secret society of grief survivors. The SSOGS.
I can’t remember anyone that responded in a way that was hurtful to me. There were people who said nothing so get ready for that. I just moved on and didn’t let that awkward moment of silence linger too long.
Sharing your loss with a stranger displays your courage to move through grief. I encourage you to try it when it feels right and let me know if it worked for you. I don’t want you to feel hurt from it so maybe try it with someone who is in the service industry, maybe who seems to be present, not in a hurry and appears to be concerned about others in general as a start.
I’m also open to those who have tried to share their grief with a stranger and had a positive outcome so we can share successful approaches with each other. Or those who have some not so successful encounters and want to share some things we should avoid. Remember we are all on this grief journey together and we want to encourage #empathyforgrief.
I want to thank you loved ones for listening to Mother’s Backyard Buzz. This is Debra Hester, your host, where I pledge to continue to break the silent struggle with grief. Remember: move forward from grief with love and more empathy, less sympathy.
If you found the podcast helpful subscribe to me on Apple or Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts from. To learn more about my mission, check out my website and reach out to me on my blog at: www.mothersbackyard.com. My book is available on Amazon & Barnes & Noble. Please leave me a podcast review on what you’d like me to address from my book or personal experience. Leave comments on the podcast and let me know how you’re doing with your grief journey.
Join me next Monday when the buzz will be about “Terms of Endearment”.
Peace & Blessings.