It is a noble act to save the soul of another - to pull them from the hell of grief. This noble act, however, may come with a price.
I am often asked about this dilemma. Survivors want to know why someone, who should behave calmly and realistically, is behaving as though they do not possess the necessary coping skills from which they live their lives. The explanation is simple. People may be highly functioning in their work, social, and private lives, yet have no experience from which to draw upon for death. If a highly functioning person has never suffered the death of a significant loved one, they may find themselves lost in an ocean of panic and sadness. This experience may make it impossible for them to continue in their usual fashion of managing the intricate details of work and life in a consistent and appropriate manner.
This situation may be terrifying for this survivor. If he or she is generally in control of their lives and its events, this disorganization may very well set them back to a place where they question their abilities. They may suddenly lose confidence in themselves. This loss of confidence may frighten them and cause them to become reclusive. In this scenario, he or she might be unable to socialize, work, or carry out their necessary daily survival chores. On the other hand, a highly functioning person who is inexperienced with loss may uncontrollably strike out toward other survivors, friends or work associates. Both situations are psychologically dangerous and should be taken seriously.
Most of the time, this disorganization is temporary, however, on occasion, it is something more serious. If the situation lasts for an extended period of time, and if the individual seems unable to restore their original level of functionality, other solutions might be noteworthy.
If you are a highly functioning person in an extended dysfunctional grief experience, you may find it advantageous to seek out counseling. A confidant who is professionally trained in bereavement may become your saving grace. A grief counselor should be able to help you cope and overcome the issues you are suffering. They are trained to help you regain control of your thoughts, reorganize your life, and regain your functionality.
On the other hand, if you know a highly functioning person who is in this situation, you need to put on a layer of thick skin. If you suggest he or she might consider counseling, you may receive gracious appreciation, or, you might receive hateful accusations; you may even lose their friendship. As a friend or a family member, you must decide if continued friendship is more important than helping this person overcome the devastations they are suffering. Prepare yourself for the potential loss of love, acceptance, and friendship. In some cases, these losses may be temporary – but in others, they may last forever.
It is a noble act to save the soul of another - to pull them from the hell of grief. This noble act, however, may come with a price. You must decide whether you love this person enough to give them up in order to help them. In my personal life, I have found that to live with myself; I must help others without regard to my personal pain. In the end, although my heart may be wounded at the loss of their friendship, my joy is restored in seeing them made whole again.
My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am the owner and Managing Funeral Director at Queen City Funeral Home in Queen City Texas. I am an author, syndicated columnist, and co-founder of Heaven Sent, Corp. I write books and weekly bereavement articles related to understanding and coping with grief. I am the American Funeral Director of the Year Runner-Up and recipient of the BBB’s Integrity Award. I deliver powerful messages and motivate audiences toward positive recovery. It is my life's work to comfort the bereaved and help them live on.
For additional encouragement, read other articles or watch video “Grief Briefs,” please go to my website at www.MourningCoffee.com.