Hubby is 1/3 owner of a small business. He and his two business partners started the company about ten years ago and have grown it to a dozen or so employees. The recession hurt, but they managed to keep all of the employees in their jobs. They are like a family.
The three owners are around the same age but they have vastly different personalities. Each has a distinctive role in the business and they compliment each other’s expertise. They are a good fit and work well as a team. They trust and respect (and dare I say love) each other, and they always have each other’s back.
Hubby and I met when the company was brand new and got married in a small ceremony almost nine years ago. Both of his partners and their lovely wives were there to celebrate with us. And when Hubby’s step-dad died in April the four of them were at the funeral. There have been many occasions where we’ve had the opportunity to support each other and all six of us have stepped up to the plate. As I said earlier, it’s like a family.
Yesterday, the wife of one of the partners, who had been very ill for some time, crashed. They were at the hospital, and Hubby and the other partner joined them there. Hubby kept me posted by phone, but when they decided to do surgery, I headed to the hospital too. They opened her. They closed her. They told the family there was nothing they do. She died yesterday around 4:15 at the age of 52.
Losing some you love is painful. Grieving them brings even more pain. The emotional highs and lows in the weeks/months/years after a significant loss are sometimes hard to comprehend. I’ve learned through personal experience you can’t skip grief nor can you rush it.
Everyone grieves differently and I think it is presumptuous to tell someone you know how they feel. I learned this when my mom died 19 years ago. Well-intentioned friends would say, “I know how you feel,” but in reality, I wasn’t sure how I felt . . . how could they? For me, it was much more comforting to hear words of sympathy I could believe: “I’m sorry for your loss,” or “I can’t imagine how you are feeling,” for example.
When my mom died, I had a lot of other things going on in my life. I put my grief on the back burner and didn’t work through it. I thought I had handled it well. I thought I was fine. Then, a few years later, it came crashing down so vehemently, it almost paralyzed me. Later, when two very close friends died, I started grieving immediately. It still took over a year to fully grieve their deaths—and I still miss both of them and my mother too—but letting myself feel sad or angry or whatever I needed to feel in the moment made acceptance much easier.
As I get older, I realize I am going to see death among friends more frequently. I’ve accepted that. I don’t know if the more times you grieve the more efficient you’ll become at it. I just don’t know. I wish I had a way around the grief, but I believe it has to be felt to be released. And loss hurts, damn it!
Have you experienced loss? How have you grieved? Does it get any easier???