I don't really like having to post about grieving, but it has a way of
coming up. It's a couple of weeks short of what would have been my Dad's
90th birthday, and a lot of my friends are still shell-shocked from the
death of John Caspell, so I guess it's appropriate.
I said a lot of what I wanted to say about grieving in this post almost a year
ago. It's still worth a read -- the gist of it is my standard advice:
everyone does their grieving differently, at their own pace, and the goal
is not forgetting but acceptance: coming to terms with your loss. I'll
wait while you go back and read it.
But there's always more, isn't there?
My choice of the phrase "shell-shocked" up
there was deliberate. It originally came out of WWI to refer to a range
of syndromes, including what we now call posttraumatic stress disorder.
... a severe and ongoing emotional reaction to an extreme psychological
trauma. This stressor may involve someone's actual death, a threat to the
patient's or someone else's life, serious physical injury, an unwanted
sexual act, or a threat to physical or psychological integrity,
overwhelming psychological defenses.
One of the common reactions to a sudden loss is survivor guilt.
It doesn't have to be based on having survived an actual disaster.
Especially if you have a low opinion of yourself to begin with, you can
start with a friend's death and a passing thought of "why him and not me?"
and spiral downward from there.
The universe isn't fair. The universe doesn't give a damn whether your
friend was more worthy, or more deserving of life and happiness, than you
are. Your friend and the drunk in the SUV, the pebble in the roadway, the
patch of black ice, the random blood clot, the cosmic ray particle, were
just there in the wrong place at the wrong time, and you weren't.
It's not your fault.
As the Mikado said, "I'm really very sorry for you all, but it's an
unjust world, and virtue is triumphant only in theatrical performances."
I know that isn't a very cheering thought when you've just lost a dear
friend. And it may well be the hardest thing you'll have to come to terms
with, but there it is. I never said grieving would be easy.