Isn’t the fingerprint a marvel? You probably started noticing you had them back when you were still a small child. You did not know it then that the pattern of swirls and waves you had on the end of each digit of your hand was yours alone. Then you found out that if you touch an object, you will leave on it a part of you in the form of fingerprints. The best part? No one else in the world had the exact same pattern as you did. Your fingerprints made you distinctly unique.
Grief is like a fingerprint. At some point in time everyone on the planet will experience grief. The loss of anything of importance like a loved one elicits a response that is universal (like all of us having our own set of fingerprints). Like our fingerprints, each grieving experience is unique. The range of circumstances that affect how uniquely one grieves is huge. Our upbringing, culture, mindset, and personality traits inform how we process loss. Add to that how the loss occurs: suddenly without warning, accidentally, or through a drawn out illness, and our grief will reflect that.
When someone says, “I know how you feel” they aren’t truly saying that they have experienced the exact same kind of grief you are going through. Instead they are commiserating with you in the hopes that their sympathy would offer comfort. The grief experience you have is yours alone, unique to you and your life. This is why we can find comfort in the sentiments of condolences of those that know us and do somehow and, in some small measure, share in the burden of grief. In fact, there are a few myths about grief that are helpful to know and the practical solutions that help debunk these myths that are largely about how one “should be” as opposed to simply being allowed to feel as one does. Read about that HERE.
Fingerprints are who we are physically. Grief is a reflection of who we are and how those we mourn for meant to us. Curiously, those that have gone ahead leave their own fingerprints on our hearts. They are part of what made us each a unique individual because of them. As grief changes over time, having gone through it offers every one of us the opportunity to find perspective and to see the value of the lives we
have. At times we say that a loved one was gone too soon or that they had more life to live. Doesn’t that mean that we need to make our lives matter? That we honour our loved one by the way we live? These are merely musings and are not meant to force anyone to be anything more than they are capable of at that time. It is a unique perspective from someone who is grieving now and is finding a way forward that suits them.
Fingerprints and grief.
“Write what you know” they say.
Yes, this writer now knows.