One of the hardest adjustments for some people after the death of a loved one is dealing with having a lot of activity and people around in the beginning to a gradual lack of support as time goes on. After a death, we may have family and friends visiting, neighbors bringing casseroles and errands to run but as time goes on, the flurry of activity subsides. In a sense, this can be another loss. Yes, it is natural for people to continue on with the busyness of their own lives but that can leave those of us who are grieving feeling as if the world is in motion around us and we are stuck in place, paralyzed by the intensity of our grief. It is hard to not feel resentment or frustration toward the people who we thought would be there for us through thick and thin.
So what are we supposed to do about this?? As “unfair” as it seems, we need to let people know what we need from them. Of course there are those friends and family members who really should know what we need without us telling them but in our society, death makes people uncomfortable and sometimes people stay away because they truly don’t know what to say or do. In my experience, you find out fairly quickly who is able to hang in there with you at one of the worst times in your life. Although it can be disappointing to find that some people who were so supportive in the beginning eventually flee never to be heard from again, it is comforting to know that there are some people who are in it for the long haul and will be able to sit in silence with you or be okay with your tears. I encourage you to take a minute to reflect on those people who didn’t “go away,” the ones who are walking next to you on your grief journey.