By Jill Pertler
Community, cottagegrovejournal, News
You don’t have to make me better

Slices Of Life

When people see you hurting they want to make it better — to make you better. It’s a kind and compassionate approach to life. I appreciate that.

But to my friends and loved ones, I have a message: You don’t have to try to make me better.

In fact, you can’t. But I appreciate you trying, I truly do. I feel your love. I feel your compassion and empathy. You can’t make me better — however much you long to try.

Because there is no making me better. There is no better. There is only right here, right now. I’m in the place where I am supposed to be. And it might be sad sometimes, but it’s my place.

When I write about this place of grief that I currently find myself in it may seem vulnerable and somber. I like to think of it as honest.

Honest is all I have, people. I don’t have any reason to avoid honest.

I lost big. (How that for honesty?) I’m not going to sugarcoat or shortchange it. I’m not going to pretend the loss wasn’t significant, life-changing or horrendous.

It was all those things. But I’m OK. Truly. If I wasn’t I’d let you know. I’d reach out.

Grief is terrible, but it isn’t life-ending. At least not for me. But that won’t stop me from being honest. Because I think it’s needed. I think we need to talk about grief and about how it affects our lives and about how terrible it really, truly is. Pretending it doesn’t exist doesn’t make that so. It doesn’t make it the truth because it isn’t the truth.

It doesn’t allow us to avoid it because it is lurking in the comer for everyone. Rich, poor and everything in-between. Status, power, strength, intelligence, wealth, religion — none of it provides a buffer from grief. And that is scary, so we avoid the topic.

I understand that. I even see the logic in that. Grief is scary. Still I think we have to bring it out in the open just a bit more. It’s OK. It’s a part of life — an unavoidable part, but one we all will confront one day. I’m sorry for that.

But I truly think being open and honest about this topic helps us all in the long run. It helps us help one another — whichever end of the grief train we happen to be on at the moment.

Grief sucks. Grief doesn’t end. But grief isn’t the end, and it certainly isn’t the end to living.

Grief endures, but life does as well.

After a loss, we go on living, but we are never done grieving.

Those of us in the thralls of it may never be over it. We will never be better. We will always be at least a little bit broken.

And you may read that and see it as bleak, but it isn’t. Not really.

Being broken isn’t the end. Losing what we were isn’t bad. It may feel like it at first, but grief is a beginning just as much as it is an ending.

It is a beginning of a new you. A you that you never imagined or wanted before. It may not have been your first, second or even last choice, still it is new.

And new comes with opportunities. Opportunities for redefining your life. Opportunities for growth. Opportunities for new relationships, new outlooks and new beliefs.

Grief may signify an ending, but it is not the end. It is a beginning. If we — all of us — allow and let it be. Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright and author. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.

January 4, 2023