Monday, April 29, 2013

Mourner's Bill of Rights--Tenet Two

Here is Tenet Two of the Mourner's Bill of Rights with commentary from Chelsea.
"You have the right to talk about your grief." 
~ Alan Wolfelt's second tenet of the Right of Mourners 

Sometimes it may feel hard to talk about your loved one, but the more you do the easier it will get. Talking can help you express your emotions and begin the healing process.

After the funeral, the rest of the world returns to daily life, but for those of us who lost someone, life, as we know it will never be the same.  You will find that people will stop asking about your loved one. Try not to take this personally because many simply do not know what to say or do to help.

For those who haven't experienced loss, they may think they are being respectful by not talking about your loss. 

Because others can clearly see how painful your loss is, they don't want to upset you, so they remain quiet. However, for most of us grieving, talking about our loved one is exactly what we need and want.


P.S. According to Dr. Wolfelt, "Talking about your grief will help you heal. Seek out others who will allow you to talk as much as you want, as often as you want, about your grief. If at times you don't feel like talking, you also have the right to be silent."
As I have a pulpit, a radio show, and a blog, I have the opportunity to talk about Zach publicly.  However, with the exception of this blog (and here only in limited doses) I don't write about him.  I have written about my grief and spoken about it from the pulpit, again from my perspective in limited doses.   I do so there, in part, as a function of ministry.   Some of it is for me, some for the congregation.

Where I really talk about Zach as Zach is with family and on occasion I will find an opportunity to talk about him with someone.  There is no rule about that.   It often depends upon my mood and what I perceive to be the openness of the person to whom I am talking.    I am not a person who likes unsolicited help or advice so I can generally gauge who will offer that and talk about other things.   That is OK.  I don't judge any of this.   I know what I need when I need it.  Not everyone has to be everything or anything for that matter.   

Now and then I find someone who will listen.  I do like that.  I like our support group.  I find it helpful.  People who are going through similar things get it.   The loss of a child to suicide is unique.  I don't say that to put it my pain on some kind of scale.  But this loss is of a certain type.  

It isn't easy to talk about him sometimes.   I have heard (and I believe it) that memories will not be as painful at some point.  Or perhaps there will be joy in addition to the sorrow.   These memories are painful now because I miss him so.  I go through the what ifs. Pain is not a bad thing.   I think talking about him through the pain is probably a good thing.

This was a great time.  Summer 2011 in Outer Banks, North Carolina.  It is painful to see this happy picture.  I can't help but think that less than a year after this photo, Zach would be gone.   I don't know if I will ever look at this picture without the pang.  Pang and what ifs.  Maybe.  Whatever the case, I still will look at it.  That was a beautiful evening and a joyful time.   As I recall, Zach and Katy tortured Michelle.   As it should be.

I loved his laugh and his smile.  Whenever I see something silly I want to show him because he loved weird things. I enjoyed making him laugh and showing off for him.  I don't know if we did a lot of constructive things together, but we did make each other laugh.  That I treasure.


  1. GREAT photo.

    And yes, some of it gets easier. It kind of suddenly has for me. I wrote about it this afternoon.

    1. Thank you. I was hoping you would comment. I will go see your post now.