The Grief Connection

“person writing on a book” by Cathryn Lavery on Unsplash

Just a short blog.

Now that I know the pain of losing my brother, whenever I hear of a news event involving a life gone too soon or a friend loses someone prematurely, I feel every emotion tied to my experience and wish I could trade pain since I am equipped now to handle it. (Kinda… mostly… okay, I’ve just gotten used to it.) I also grieve for the person who is not gone, knowing a bit of how they may feel “existing.”

Right now there is a country singer who has a 1-year old and just entered hospice. A plane went down. There’s refugee’s suffering all over the world. I see posts on Facebook asking for prayer to save a young girl who has incurable cancer. A friend lost her mother, another a sister. There is loss everywhere. What can we do?

As a mother now, I see stories like the ones above and nearly crumble if I put myself and my daughters in similar situations. I feel the grief not only as an “exist-or” but also as a surrogate. I’m not the only one that feels this way. What on Earth can we do to keep from seeing these images, hearing the stories and exist in a “safe” zone? Do we have to shut part of our empathy down so we don’t get wrapped up in another’s pain? That doesn’t seem like a genuine life. My empathy is one of my favorite characteristics. It’s one of my superpowers.

Having experienced a loss isn’t necessarily a key component of the emotional reaction to news and events but it certainly doesn’t help any.

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