I’m not sure whether it’s a cultural thing, but I find many of us Indians are very uncomfortable with the grief of others. When someone is grieving the loss of a partner, a parent, a member of their family, a friend, a job or an opportunity even, we must allow them to grieve the way they want to. But no, we will say things like, ‘She wouldn’t want you to cry.’ Or worse still, ‘You’re strong. You’ll get over it.’ Why this discomfort with grief, I wonder.
Grief is as natural to us as is love. We love, we lose, we grieve.
Discomfort With Grief ?
So condoling, comforting and caring for those who are grieving should also come naturally to us.
The best thing we can offer a grieving person is our presence. There’s nothing better than a friend who cares enough to just be by your side when you’re grieving. Offering nothing but presence, a listening ear and non-judgement.
Not rushing to advise. To give solutions. To say that it’s a passing phase.
Let people grieve in peace. Just be there to care.
The human soul doesn’t want to be advised or fixed or saved. It simply wants to be witnessed — to be seen, heard and companioned exactly as it is.– Parker Palmer
I’m sharing this passage from Winnie The Pooh because it seems so relevant to what I’ve written.
It occurred to Pooh and Piglet that they hadn’t heard from Eeyore for several days, so they put on their hats and coats and trotted across the Hundred Acre Wood to Eeyore’s stick house. Inside the house was Eeyore.
“Hello Eeyore,” said Pooh.
“Hello Pooh. Hello Piglet,” said Eeyore, in a Glum Sounding Voice.
“We just thought we’d check in on you,” said Piglet, “because we hadn’t heard from you, and so we wanted to know if you were okay.”
Eeyore was silent for a moment. “Am I okay?” he asked, eventually. “Well, I don’t know, to be honest. Are any of us really okay? That’s what I ask myself. All I can tell you, Pooh and Piglet, is that right now I feel really rather Sad, and Alone, and Not Much Fun To Be Around At All. Which is why I haven’t bothered you. Because you wouldn’t want to waste your time hanging out with someone who is Sad, and Alone, and Not Much Fun To Be Around At All, would you now.”
Pooh looked and Piglet, and Piglet looked at Pooh, and they both sat down, one on either side of Eeyore in his stick house.
Eeyore looked at them in surprise. “What are you doing?”
“We’re sitting here with you,” said Pooh, “because we are your friends. And true friends don’t care if someone is feeling Sad, or Alone, or Not Much Fun To Be Around At All. True friends are there for you anyway. And so here we are.”
“Oh,” said Eeyore. “Oh.” And the three of them sat there in silence, and while Pooh and Piglet said nothing at all; somehow, almost imperceptibly, Eeyore started to feel a very tiny little bit better.
Because Pooh and Piglet were There. No more; no less.
Linking in to Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday.