Few people like to talk about grief so having an awareness day for it is a good thing. I have had more than my share of personal losses for my age and now as a retiree, the number grows by the year. It’s hard to deal with and accept one of life’s natural progressions at times. The void left when someone close to you dies is all too real.

My mother died of cancer when I was 17 and still a senior in high school. Did anyone talk to me, or ask me how I felt. Nope! We knew she was sick. We knew she would die. About the only concession granted was my teachers let me hand in homework late without docking my grade. Now, many years later, I can see some of my life choices were directly related to loosing my mother, who was a stabilizing force in my life, at such a young age. I have tried to never used that loss as an excuse, but it is a fact.

I know a young man who was extremely close to his older sister. She was killed in an  accident when he was 22. My personal opinion is his emotional maturity stopped growing at that point. His parents, as well as friends, have tried to talk to him, explaining he could use an impartial third-party to talk to about his grief. He growls, “Don’t start on me!” and walks away. It is so sad that he is stuck and won’t consider help. His parents suffer also, tearing when they think about the fact they will never attend their little girls wedding. Believe me, belonging to the club, “I have buried a child,” is the worst club on earth to be a part of. Luckily there are grief groups where one can share the pain and there is an understanding from the other members.

I read a very good article explaining if you know someone who is grieving, no matter how recent or long ago the death might have been, it is a nice gesture to mention a memory about the individual that has passed. It might bring tears to the person you are talking to, and that is all right, because what it is also doing is letting that person know you haven’t forgotten their loved one any more than they have. It’s good to hold on to the memories.

I have found there may never be any understanding of why someone close to you dies at an unexpected time, so acceptance is more difficult. I have also discovered that it is a blessing if you can continue to live a full happy life with those who are still here who need you in the present without feeling you are being disloyal to the one who is gone. Grief is a process, different for everyone, be aware, but don’t let it run your life.