We had a good friend of Dave's (from high school) loose her husband tragically about a week and a half ago. It happened so suddenly and could have been prevented. He was doing something he loved, bicycling, and was hit by a car. He was only 40 years old and left behind not only his wife, but two amazing kids, extended family, and numerous friends.
How many times have you passed (on the road) a person riding a bike, someone walking, or running and thought, they don't belong on the road? Well, the fact is, they do. Sometimes there are no other options, but to use the road. I know that's the case near where we live. And I worry about my husband every time he hits the pavement running, especially if it's in the wee hours of the morning. Will people pay attention, will someone see his reflective vest, and God forbid someone be distracted (texting while driving), as someone was in our neighborhood last year, hitting and nearly killing our neighbor. It's every driver's responsibility to watch out for EVERYONE on the road. Whether it's another car, motorcycle, bicyclist, walker, or runner. Slow down, give them some courtesy and take your time. You will make it around them and still get to your destination.
In the past week and a half I have thought of, and prayed often for my husband's friend and her family. I think about how her life has changed forever. How she lost her soul mate, best friend and father to her children. I know what that deep grief and despair feels like, but not on that level. I noticed on FB that everyone told her to be strong. I remember when we lost Everett how so many people told me/us to be strong. Well, what if you don't want to be? What if you just want to loose it, and fall apart. What would people think? There were many days where I simply didn't care what others thought. But I didn't feel like I could share those days with anyone but myself and husband. Because people worry. People wonder if you are going to fall off the deep end, and you may wonder that yourself some days. It must be so incredibly painful for people who love you to watch you crumble to pieces before their eyes. Especially when you are the one who is usually strong for others. I think people simply don't know what else to say, so they tell you to be strong. And you feel like you have to.
For me, in terms of grief, strength has a different meaning. It means being willing to ask for help when you need it and feel too overwhelmed to make it day to day. It means being able to lean on the strength of others to carry you through, especially when you aren't used to doing that. But if you or someone you know is newly grieving over a loss and you don't feel like being strong, that's OK. It can be quite a relief to let yourself fall apart and have moments where all you feel like you can do is scream, especially when nothing else seems to be in your control. Those moments will pass and you will eventually regain your strength. And who knows, you may surprise yourself and become stronger than you ever were before.