Others have asked me about grief and loss as they weather losses of their own. From my perch up here in the Peanut Gallery - I think women handle grief better than men. As mothers they feel it much more deeply and painfully - but they seem to spring back from it much faster too. The loss of my daughter just about destroyed me. Dunno what I would have done without the wife. I am in no position to counsel anyone I suppose.
Still, I might have learned a thing or two that helped me, and maybe they can help you if (God forbid) you ever get put through something like this.
- You can't get your shit together until you lose it first. Make sure your friends and loved ones are close but not too close to begin with. You will need some privacy for your melt-down, and the time to recover afterward.
- Try to step outside of yourself as soon as you can. Look at your grief as an impartial observer and try and see it for what it is. You'll realize that none of it is about you - it's about them. That one took me either five years or 53 years depending on how ya look at it I suppose. There's any number of people that will tell you how the world and life works but they really don't have any more of a clue than you do.
- Take all condolence with grace and as much class as you can. I cringe when the bible thumpers go off - they'll say things like God tests us, its His will and so forth. Try to remember that their faith is a huge comfort to them - and they are only trying to comfort you too. It's the thought that counts - they are really saying that they love you and feel your loss.
- Educate yourself. Parents of teen suicides need to dig out the facts on it as soon as they are able. Find support groups. When my daughter came out of the closet and ran away to join the circus - I found a closed group on the internet comprised of parents with gay kids. Honest parents, whose own kids put them through the same meat grinder the same way mine did to me. Years before we had terms like 'social justice warrior' or 'millennial snowflake' or 'cry bullies' - these folks had this stuff all figured out. A lady trucker in Idaho told me all about the virtue signalling and victim politics that go along with the LBGTQWTF crowd. An airforce colonel gave me pointers on how to deal with my daughter and how she would react. He could literally predict her behaviour patterns before she went dark. Knowledge is power, and allows you to take possession of your grief in an intelligent way. You can learn things about yourself that you never knew before.
- Let your grief come natural. Don't try to rush it, or rebound from it, or take shortcuts around it. I am suspicious of grief counsellors myself, but if you think they'll help - go for it and don't be ashamed. If you have access to a really good church group, they can help too.
- You will emerge from your grief a better person. It may not feel that way at first, but trust me on that one. It is of little comfort during the process, I know.
Gawd, we live in truly fuddled times. I watch the lunacy around me and it truly amazes me at how otherwise rational people can get swept away by it. You hang on for dear life, every man for himself, holding against the gale ... and then when there's a lull in the hurricane, you look around and your kid is gone... or your family. In 60 years, historians are going to look back on us and ask themselves, "What were those idiots smoking?"
If this humble account should survive and fall under the eyes of those historians all I can do is shrug and say, "I wish I knew...".