The loss of a parent is one of the most difficult things we have to face in our lives. Whatever your beliefs, this is true whether the relationship with the parent was a good one or a bad one. If the parent was your hero, then the loss alone is tremendous. If the parent was your villain, then the feelings and trauma that resurface can cause all sorts of damage internally.
But I’m not here to talk about the impact of the loss of a parent, I’m here to talk about the gift that grief gives us in coping with that loss. This is something I had never really considered until recently when I read a blog post by Tim Bruhn, someone I had just met online. He was dealing with the loss of his mother.
As an unknown, there was little I could offer except words. I lived in the same city but we had never met physically, had I shown up at any gatherings he held for support to express my condolences it would have likely caused more problems than it solved, so I offered those simple words of support and I watched things unfold. I watched knowing that I will soon be dealing with the loss of my own parents, and my wife will as well. It’s the nature of life, but as Tim Bruhn explains in his short blog post, Grief is a gift.
While the loss of a parent is a difficult experience in the simplest of times, Tim lives in the United States and his mother was halfway around the world in Korea. This also happened while he and his family were packing for a move to a new home. Shortly after he returned from Korea, with his mother’s belonging’s still in his car, the car was stolen. It was found within 24 hours and all of her belongings were still there, but the added stress was certainly more than the world needed to put on his shoulders.
“Grief is like alcohol, it will affect people physiologically in similar ways, but how it’s expressed varies from person to person and their psychological profile.”
Grief is a Gift
Now Tim is settling into his new home and dealing with his mother’s estate from halfway around the world, both of which come with their own ongoing challenges. But as I’ve earned, Tim has broad shoulders, a loving family, and a group of very solid friends to support him.
I’ve watched other friends and loved ones as they have gone through their own losses, including my own parents when my grandparents passed away. Grief has always been a difficult thing to grasp for me. When I feel it, I have similar periods of numbness and could never explain why. The emotions always came much later, usually when I was alone, when there was nothing else, when there were no more tasks.
“But not today. Today, my body gifts me with numbness and slight disorientation.”
Grief is a Gift
I think that’s why I like Tim’s way of looking at it. Grief is a gift. It gives us the chance to say goodbye in stages when we are ready. There are things that need to be done first, we need to take care of things, we need to be numb and distant for a time.
When we are ready, we will weep.