- Lyn Reed
There's no hierarchy of suffering when it comes to bereavement....
Updated: Jul 22, 2019
Losing someone close is often hard to bear and no less so when the death is anticipated. When we know or care for people who are living with terminal conditions we may well tell ourselves that we understand that they don't have long; we may even believe that we have accepted their passing. We say these things as if death has already taken place.
Sometimes this can be a way of protecting ourselves for the pain which bereavement brings.
The truth, as I see it is that we do not know when someone is going to die; any more than we know how we are going to feel when they do die. Release from suffering can sometimes make the passing easier to bear. Even so, we may continue to feel the emptiness that loss brings. No matter how busy we keep ourselves or how much we may self-medicate on drink, food or other 'props'. The feeling of loss may be numbed for a while; but it just doesn't disappear. It hangs around in the background ready to make a reappearance at any given moment.
Many would say that when we 'anticipate' death it is easier to deal with. I would say that each of us has own own expectations of how we are going to react to another's passing. But when the time comes we may react in a totally unexpected way. None of us know how we are going to feel when the time comes.
In my view, grief is a very personal experience. It is a journey we have to take whether death is anticipated or not. There is no hierarchy of suffering in bereavement. We all feel our losses - whether we 'expect' them or not.