Wednesday, May 16, 2007




My vacuum wasn’t working right this past weekend and I couldn’t find where I put the manual.  Hey, there’s always Google.  Which is exactly where I found my vacuum’s website and their troubleshooting section.  As I was navigating the website, I could feel that I was getting closer to my particular issue with each passing click of the mouse.  Then I hit the FAQ’s section.  Most of us are familiar with this section of what seems all customer service areas.  FAQ’s are Frequently Asked Questions.  It seems most subjects have these FAQ’s.  If one has the patience, you can usually find your question and the matching answer.  If all else fails, you can still contact customer service. 


Grief isn't so different.  There seems to be some commonalities among grievers.  This isn’t a bad thing, because it lets the griever know that they are not alone, that they are not going crazy, that they are not weird.  One common theme among grievers is the question “why?”  “Why” for a lot of reasons.  Why did my loved one die?  Why didn’t the doctors diagnose this sooner?  Why didn’t I push to get them to thedoctor?  Why didn’t I see the signs?  Why didn’t I do things differently? And the biggest Why?  Why did God let this happen?  Why does God let children get sick and why does he let them die?  Why did God take my loved one?  Why couldn’t God take me instead?  Why would God take a parent away from a child?  Why would God take many people in one family?  And one death after another?  There are so many questions directed towards God, and I often hear, “When I get to heaven, I’m going to have a little chat with God and find out why he did all these things.” 


I couldn’t help imagining that God is up there sitting on a throne, and there is a line of people stretching longer than the eye can see, disappearing into the clouds.  They are all there to ask their “why.”  However, a lot of the questions are similar where it pertains to the loss of a loved one.  So being the busy guy that he is, he probably would have a list of FAQ’s.  I also imagine the FAQ’s are posted on the pearly gates, so that before you enter heaven you would check the list to see if your question has been answered already before heading off into the line.  Another counselor told me that she believes that our loved ones become spirit and that when you become spirit, the need to have your questions answered disappears.  Almost as if once you become spirit, you have an all-knowing and understanding of what your life was and all the “whys.”  Whatever it is, I do know that there are a lot of unanswered questions when we lose a loved one.  Some questions we will never have the answers for in our lifetime, and there is no customer service to bail us out.


Part of the grief process is coming to some sort of terms with this and being able to move forward.  It’s human nature to want to know the answers to our questions.  We crave understanding to be able to accept what has happened in our lives.  Loss, in particular, is something we don’t want to accept.  For me, to accept something means that I’m ok with it.  People are rarely “ok” with losing a loved one.  I prefer to say that part of the grief process is learning to live with the loss, or assimilating the loss into your life.  Whenever you “learn” about something, you change and grow.  Learning to assimilate the loss into your life is no different.  We never forget the loved ones who have died, but it does change you and you do grow as a person from the experience.  If your question isn’t on the FAQ list, you have to learn to assimilate the loss into your life without the answers and without customer service.


Please be gentle with yourself,




P.S.  If you have found this article, or previous articles, helpful, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the Bereavement Center.  We are a non-profit agency and we operate solely on donations from the community.  Any donation, no matter how great or how small, is greatly appreciated and will be acknowledged.



lynnette041559 said...

I really appreciated the analogy of the "Google Search and FAQ's."    That is very true in how dealing with grief can be and the need to have answers to my questions.  I am really searching for help with my own grief.  

A month ago my brother died suddenly of a heart attack.  Now grief is not something new to me.  I lost my dad when I was 17 and my mother died when I was 37.  So I somehow managed to go through the grieving process pretty well intact.  I also was a medical social worker for years and worked for a time in Hospice, but what I'm going through right now I can't seem to get on top of.  

With my brother's death, I am feeling so much rage.  I realize that some of  it has to do with where I'm at in my life.  The fact that I'm living in Canada with my wonderful husband and young son, but away from my extended family.  Also, I live in a city of a million people and I feel so alone except for a couple of close friends (who I'm friends with because we're all moms) and of course my immediate family.  It's hard to explain, but I feel angry that during the time after my brother's death and during the few days of the funeral and planning, that was all the time I was around people who were grieving or at least understood.  Of course I wasn't truly grieving at that time....I was just numb.  

I feel like once I returned to my "life" following the funeral, I was expected to join the human race again as though my brother's death was nothing more than a "blip on the radar screen" of my life.  

I am searching for others who share not only grief, but the grief of a sibling.  Because I do know it's totally different than losing a parent, spouse or child.  But nevertheless, it is a grief to work through.  

So if anyone has any other sites or suggestions, I would be totally open to them.  I am going to read through the other posts on this

cleomcveo said...

Lynnette,  Thank you for posting your thoughts here, and also for visiting this blog.  I hope you find the information a small help or comfort.  I'm truly sorry for the loss of your brother.  I can't even begin to imagine what you must be going through.  

I agree that society expects people to get right back into the normal grind of daily living.  It's not possible, nor is it practical.  I often tell people who come to see me that it's as if they, the bereaved, become educators to the rest of the world in what is appropriate in grief.  Like you need one more thing to heap on your plate, right?  I have found that it's the people who respond in that way are the people who have not yet experienced a significant loss.  I actually do have clients who say that they said certain things or behaved a certain way to someone who had a loss, not knowing how hurtful they were being, until they had a loss of their own.  

I think you have good intuitions though - you know that you have a good support system in your immediate family, but you are also sensing that you need more.  I agree.  The more supports the better.  We need to talk, cry, laugh and share memories of our loved ones, with everyone, if possible - to be able to move through the grief process.  Many people have found support among websites and support groups.  I must confess I'm not familiar with what's available in your area.  But I will do some poking around on my end to see if I can find something that may be helpful to you in terms of sibling loss.

In the meantime, please know that you can always leave comments, e-mail (see link on home page), or call (we have an 800 number), and I will always try to be available to you and help in any way that I can.  

My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Sincerely,  Diana