In our culture we are given three days bereavement leave, which is no where near enough for such an enormous loss. It creates an expectation that grief should be over and done with within a relatively short time. But after an enormous loss grief stays with you forever and creeps up at different times in your life. When I graduated, got married and was pregnant with Maya I grieved the loss of my father.
According to 'Coping With Grief' by Mal McKissock and Dianne McKissock (which I highly recommend reading):
In the beginning, pain seems to be a constant, overwhelming companion until gradually, you become familiar with its intensity, and therefore less fearful. The time spent in between 'peaks' becomes shorter, giving you necessary periods of relief. Initially, relief may be short-lived, perhaps just minutes of respite gradually stretching into hours, days, weeks. You may never 'get over' the death but you will learn to live with the absence of the person you love.Friends are asking me what they can do to help and really there is nothing they can do, except be there when I am ready to see them again. The problem is I don't know how many people can 'handle' my grief. It seems in our culture it's not really acceptable to show strong feelings. People don't like to see other people crying because they feel like that person is hurting and they want to fix the hurt. It even starts with parents trying anything and everything to stop their baby from crying, when in reality crying is a natural, normal way for babies to express themselves. From a young age we teach children that it is not OK to cry by trying to stop them from crying. But crying is a natural, normal way to heal hurt. I'm not saying that you can't comfort someone who is crying and be there for them. In fact it's important to be there with them and to comfort them and to let them know that it is OK to cry. If you think back to when you cried last, didn't you feel better afterwards? That is the point of crying. But when someone is trying to stop you from this process it makes it harder to proceed and therefore harder to heal.
According to 'Coping With Grief' by Mal McKissock and Dianne McKissock:
In our society people get upset if you demonstrate strong reactions to pain. For example, if you cry openly in reaction to an event, even bereavement, after a short period of tolerance, those around you will begin to placate your feelings - they will say things like, 'Buck up, think of the kids, every cloud has a silver lining.' All of these platitudes and clichés, though not malicious are designed to prevent you from expressing your feelings. There is a very genuine belief that getting upset is bad for you.In this day and age, in our society, it is rare to have lost both parents at my age. And while I don't wish this upon anyone, I can't help feel jealous now of people who still have both parents or even one.
Quite a few of my friends had children far from their parents and families. But I chose to remain near mine. Whereas they always have the choice to move back to their families, now I will never know that support again.