Back in December and January I had gotten into a pretty good routine that I really enjoyed where first thing in the morning I would exercise, and while I was working out I’d listen to a podcast.
My favorite was Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations. I have learned so much from these podcasts about myself and people in general, and every morning after finishing an episode I’d feel enlightened or inspired or redirected.
Usually I felt all three of those things.
Then in late January I developed some internal issues which led to surgery and then my whole routine was thrown off, and I totally fell off the wagon.
About two weeks ago, I started walking again (I still have two weeks to go post-surgery before I can really exercise or do anything strenuous) and listening to Oprah ‘s podcast. In the past week I’ve listened to the Lin-Manuel Miranda, Trevor Noah and Stephen Colbert episodes. They were all awesome, especially Trevor Noah. His book is next on my list of things to read.
Today I listened to the Sheryl Sandberg episode.
If you don’t know who she is, Sheryl Sandberg is the COO of Facebook. You may have seen the speech she gave at Berkeley where she talked about grief — it was all over social media last year.
It was her husband’s death that led her to focus on helping people deal with grief.
As someone who experienced the death of a sibling when I was a junior in high school, I know quite a bit about grief.
And I also know that many of us, most of us, even — myself included — have no idea how to handle other peoples’ grief.
When we see someone who has experienced a trauma, we mention it the first time we see that person.
And then, for most of us, we never mention it again.
We are afraid to br ing it up. We are afraid to remind the person about their grief.
But the thing that most of us don’t realize is that you don’t need to be reminded of your grief.
If you have lost a loved one, you don’t forget. It is with you all the time.
So the first time we see someone who has been dealt a really bad blow, we say something.
And than that’s it. Then it’s back to business as usual.
We think we are helping that person out. But in reality, often what we are doing is making that person feel more alone by not addressing it. And that is not helping them with the grieving process.
And in this podcast episode, she said:
“There is something so powerful about acknowledging. Not everyone wants to talk all the time, but you can always say to someone, ‘I know you’re hurting. And I am here. We can talk about it, we can not talk about it, but I know you are in pain.’ “
We all need to learn to feel comfortable enough to acknowledge peoples’ grief! This would be such a gift to anyone who is grieving or even just struggling.
So I pass this along to you.
Don’t let the first time you acknowledge someone’s grief be the only time you acknowledge it.
You don’t have to say much. You don’t have to fix anything. You don’t have to have any profound words.
Just letting that person who is struggling know you are there is enough.
I know you are hurting. I’m here. And we will get through this.
That’s a great place for all of us to start.