RecentIy, I stopped by the cafe area at church and spoke briefly with one of our coffee volunteers. In the few minutes that we chatted, our conversation went deeper than most conversations will usually go in a whole days worth of conversing with someone.
I like those kinds of conversations the best. I love when you can by pass a lot of the small talk and get to the soul talk instead. I love when you get to unexpectedly hear a part of someone’s story. I love when you discover a common thread. What a gift.
In our brief conversation the other morning, we talked openly about death and grief. It was a refreshing conversation. I discovered that we had both lost our moms at a young age. Her dad had died at a young age as well. In our conversation, we both expressed our frustration with the fact that the majority of people in life seem to avoid conversations about death. Which, by the way, has always seemed odd to me since it’s the one thing we as humans all have in common. We both admitted that even though others avoid talking about these hurts (especially as more and more time passes) the ones who are grieving would still love to talk about, be asked about, and remember their loved ones. People think that mentioning the name of the loved one will open an old wound or make the griever sad but what they don’t realize is this lost loved one is always on the griever’s heart. The griever doesn’t forget. The elephant, so to speak, is always in the room.
This transparent conversation I had with a volunteer last weekend was just what my heart needed. I was reminded of some words I shared on my blog last year after my dad died in a post called Waves and Elephants
Today I know…I don’t have to stop talking about loved ones after they die. When my mom died there were times when folks would avoid the conversation…thinking if they didn’t bring it up, it was, somehow, the polite or loving thing to do. Years ago, I took this to mean that I shouldn’t talk about or bring it up anymore either. I thought since others avoided the topic, then I should too. I know differently today. So I will talk about it and bring it up as often as need be.
Grief doesn’t heal when you sweep it under a rug. It took me a decade to learn that the first time around.
Today, let’s not pretend (and I’m guilty of doing this too because sometimes it’s the easier more convenient route) that the grief elephant has left the room when you converse with a friend who is journeying through a valley. That elephant? It’s there. It’s always there.