In Grieving, A Trusted Friend Who Won’t “Fix” You is a Blessing

Grieving is never easy, it helped to have a trusted friend who didn’t want to “fix” me. I use the first letter of her name, M, in Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again. M didn’t cuddle me or hold back when I needed “tough love.” She perfectly mixed tough love and compassion into a healing mix. Here is an excerpt of an exchange between M and me in the early stages of my grieving:

“I sat across from M and said, “Thanks for the coffee, M.” My words came without emotion.

“Talk to me.” That’s all she said.

I inhaled a deep breath. I remained silent for a moment. I wanted to tell M how I really felt. I wanted to swear, but held it in. I can swear as easily as I breathe. Babe would have told you that I don’t swear in public or at people. I reserve my swear words for situations in which no other words could be used as descriptions. I wanted to let go with my best swears, honed over time. I knew they would flow as smoothly as a Mozart concerto. They were the only words to describe how I felt.

Instead, I held back and said, “I hurt like hell, M. Honestly, I can’t concentrate. Normally, I can juggle seven or eight things at a time. It’s now difficult juggling even one.”

“You’re normal,” she said.

“This is normal? I feel like …” I caught myself before finishing.

“No, it is not normal in the way most people you know experience normal.” M replied. “It’s normal when grief strikes. It strikes like a rattlesnake: quick, painful, and intense, releasing its poisonous venom into you. Life is different, Ray. Whatever way you experienced life as before, that’s over. You can’t have it back.”

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Excerpt From: Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again by Ray Calabrese. This material is protected by copyright

Excerpt From

Dancing Alone

Raymond Calabrese

This material may be protected by copyright.

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