Life is a Terminal Condition

May 6, 2021

Shhhh! Don’t talk about it, pretend it didn’t happen, and carry on.

Maybe if you ignore it or stay busy, it’ll go away. Time heals all wounds.

Distracting ourselves with busyness, offering trite, but unhelpful sayings, and avoiding contact, are all common ways many’ve learned to deal with the uncomfortable truth…. Life is a terminal condition. No one gets out of this world alive. Loss and grief are painful.

Each of us will experience loss and grief, they’re inevitable facts of life. Even though grief will touch each of us, we often know so little about it and are unprepared for the impact it’ll have on our lives.

I thought I knew how to “do grief.” I’d experienced many losses as a young person, and I’d learned to avoid the painful feelings by staying busy.

I had the prescription down pat: when someone died, it was time to start cleaning, and start cooking and baking. Distract, distract, distract! Do anything, but feel those painful feelings.

Don’t cry, because it makes everyone else uncomfortable. If you do cry, do so when you’re alone. Don’t talk about it.

I believed the words of Ella Wheeler Wilcox, when she wrote, “Laugh, and the world laughs with you; weep, and you weep alone.”

I didn’t know there was a different way.

I learned to become a caregiver when loss was experienced, taking care of everyone else, but me. I became the great pretender as I put on a brave face, even fooling myself for a while.

I learned to suppress and not feel or express the growing ball of grief, until I couldn’t.

I thought I could soothe painful feelings of grief with my intellect, and reason and talk myself out of the pain, yet I learned this doesn’t work. Learning to feel my feelings, the good, the bad, and the painful was essential to healing.

The head wants answers when the heart needs to heal. I couldn’t intellectualize myself out of my grief; I had to be present to my feelings to heal my heart.

People often feel their experience of grief is abnormal when it’s not abnormal at all.

Grief often has unusual faces, looking like anything but grief, and there’s no predictable path You need to grieve. Learning how to support ourselves and others who are grieving is empowering.

While we grieve for many reasons, the pain of losing loved ones often leaves us feeling alone, isolated, and uncertain of how to navigate and rebuild our lives following a death. While we may tend to isolate, we don’t have to experience grief alone.

Thank goodness for the wonderful people who’ve found meaning and purpose in supporting grievers. One such individual is Joanne Bonk, grief share facilitator and community relations with Springfield Funeral Home.

For Joanne, walking beside others in grief is one of her greatest privileges. While accompanying people during their most vulnerable time, she watches them heal the pain of loss, learning peace and pain can coexist.

While people may hide behind sunglasses, shrouded by hats or hoods with downcast eyes as they start their journey, Joanne takes joy in watching them open as they connect, sharing stories, receiving support, understanding and hope as they engage in their journey of healing.

I loved Joanne’s words: “Soon it is discovered that, although we all have a different journey, we are all on the same journey and it is OK to be real; emotions are welcome” as people connect and discover their journey with grief is normal.

If you need support in your journey with grief, please reach out and don’t isolate. It doesn’t matter if your loss is new or from long ago, help is available.

Support groups are available via technology, connecting grievers with experts, counsellors, and facilitators who’re offering support in these challenging times.

In Kelowna, Central Okanagan Hospice Association and Springfield Funeral Home and Crematorium are community leaders in providing support to people who’ve experienced loss.

Corinne Crocket

New Thought –