Conversations in Grief Blog: So Far Away
So Far Away
by Hilary Furnish
The playwright Tennessee Williams once wrote, “Time is the longest distance between two places.” The time between encounters, moments, or cherished memories can feel like lifetimes ago. The passing of one year into another may make this space feel even farther as we recall the joys and sorrows of the previous year. The space between us, measured in time that has passed, can shock us when it is longer than we realize. This is particularly true for those who are grieving the death of a loved one.
As part of the support we provide at Rainbow Community Care, our Bereavement team makes calls throughout the year to check in on those who have elected to be part of our bereavement program. In these conversations, it is not uncommon for a surviving loved one to be surprised at how much time has passed since their person died. “Has it been that long?” is a statement we often hear. This revelation brings on a mixture of emotions, and the reality begins to sink in of the distance between the last moments they spent with their loved one. Hours, days, and weeks have passed. The reality that they have somehow survived despite their loved one’s absence becomes evident. Suddenly, their loved one may feel so far away.
This sense of separation we feel when we measure the time between having our person with us and the loss we feel in their absence may become more difficult as we cross into a new year without them. This is a year they will never experience, and we will face each day of it without them. This reality may make the newness of the year feel hollow as grief has traveled with us as our companion. New dates are on the calendar, but the pain is the same. The chair is still empty, there is one less person to text, and the dread of the milestones ahead without them may make any shred of hope for good things feel impossible to grasp.
How then do we approach a new year when the pain of the last hovers over us like a shadow? We embrace the grief and do our best to be honest about it. It is okay to not approach this year like you may have a new year in the past. Focusing more on what is needed to support the grief you may feel and less on big plans or high expectations may be helpful. Grief can leave us feeling defeated as it impairs our ability to do things as we once did for a season. Being gentle with our expectations of ourselves can help support us through the changes that come with a new year or even a new day.
As you consider your needs, support is available through Rainbow Community Care. We have two support groups currently available: Monday Morning Joe is a drop-in group that meets every Monday (unless it falls on a holiday) from 8:30-10 a.m. and Honoring Grief is a 6-week support group that meets on Monday evenings from 6-7 p.m. The next session will begin February 12 and run through March 18. Both groups meet at our Rainbow Hospice Care Inpatient Center at 1225 Remmel Drive in Johnson Creek. For more information or to set up one-on-one grief support, contact us at (920) 674-6255.