I have been thinking about this post for a long time - it deeply touches so many aspects of healing from trauma and grief.
It is about how we so often hear the word "just" when we have had a loss and we are suffering.
Just get over it
Just get back to work
Just get another one
And it strikes me that use of this word is so common that we don't think about how, in fact, it is riddled with injustice. It is so deeply mocking and painful, quite disregarding the heartache and devastation that someone may be going through. It treats one's recovery as something as simple as "just" getting a quart of milk.
This definitely goes under the heading of things people say when they may mean well, but say something that pops into their heads at the moment without considering the painful impact it may have.
If someone has been suffering for a long time in grief, implying that they can "just" get over it or should "just" get back to work is counterintuitive and counter-productive. They probably wish that it were that easy for them. It clearly isn't and you are not in their shoes, so you may not know their struggles.
If you know someone stuck in grief:
- Let them cry on your shoulder.
- Offer to bring them a meal or clean, if that would be useful for them.
- Take care of their small children, so they can have a break.
- Help them explore different ways of healing - books, groups, therapy, a grief coach, journaling - there are many options.
- Help them construct or plan a memorial in memory of a lost loved one, to honor their feelings and process the loss. This does not have to be a sad occasion, but can be a celebration of their favorite hobby or place.
If someone says a "just" phrase to you, I feel that it is perfectly ok to express that this is not helpful, and is actually hurtful.
One other thing - "just" is often used when someone judges that grief has gone on too long - there are clear signs when someone is truly stuck in grief:
- Neglect of personal care and appearance
- Inability to break out of depression
- Inability to focus on work
- The acting out of children whose needs are not being attended to
When these issues are pervasive and go on for more than a year, it's time to get professional help of some sort - each person will respond to a different combination of assistance.
But suggesting to a friend or family member that the journey out of the dark pain of grief is quick, quantifiable or easy is a simple injustice to the care a human soul requires.
If you would like to speak to me personally about the above subject or any topic surrounding Grief, Loss, coaching or healing, click here to set aside a personal Free ½ Hour Empowerment Call. You are not alone.
Claire M. Schwartz
Leading You Back into the Light after Loss