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Remember how it sounded when you scratched your fingernails down a blackboard? Remember that feeling it sent through you? It’s the same feeling I get when I hear someone tell one who has experienced recent loss, “How strong you are in your faith!”

It’s a wonderful compliment, but I’m wondering if the person saying this kind of thing: 1) has an expectation that the mourner should be a spiritual poster child for grief, or 2) is trying to remind the mourner of his faith in order to help him separate from his pain.

We all have a tendency to want to remove the pain from our grieving family and friends. We say uplifting things and apply salves in the form of verses and hymns and beautiful, strengthening words. It almost feels like sometimes we are trying to convince the mourner of his own strength and propping him up by saying, “You are strong! Stay steadfast and strong!”

I may be wrong, but I believe every grieving person needs to have the freedom to fall apart, to cry out from the bottom of his soul, to mourn fully. Actually, I think everybody does this whether we give them the freedom or not.

lonely person on beachWe don’t know how strong people are. Some people wear effective masks and feel that by their position they must appear strong. We don’t know what they do when they are home … alone … with four walls closing in on them.

Everybody knows I was no poster child for grief. I had my four walls. Sometimes that’s all there was – me and the four walls. The dog even left the room. She could feel my vibes heavy and strong. But it had to be that way for me to get through it. I had to feel the pain of loss. I had to suffer. That’s what grief is.

Grief is great suffering over loss. Grief is messy, chaotic, and mean. Grief is normal.

Shouldn’t we offer love and support … AND let our grieving friends be normal and fall apart occasionally? It doesn’t mean they are going to be this way forever. It means they need to grieve in the present “meantime” so they can get to the future and the forever.