How People Grieve – Depression

Depression is keynote in the third stage of grief. Depression, like shock, is natural. Depression slows us down. Depressed people say, “The sun doesn’t shine for me any more.” They’re right; it doesn’t. Yet hope whispers, “The sun still shines…you just can’t see it from where you are now.” Have you ever flown up through clouds to blue-sky sunshine? You see and feel the sun’s warmth and the foggy gloom is left far below. A new perspective, hope, dissipates depression.

When with a person depressed by grief, listen twice as much as you talk. There is a lesson to be learned in man’s having two ears and only one mouth.

Silence, during a visit to the recently bereaved, can seem to be very awkward. Too often visitors feel obligated to fill silences, to distract “morbid” thinking. Whose needs are being met by breaking silences? Silence can be productive and comfortable.

Many of us have been chagrined to realize that instead of consoling the widow, she consoled us! She saw our discomfort and helping us with our problem, she lost time and energy needed for her own work. We became part of the problem instead of part of the solution. To guard against this, periodically ask yourself, “Whose needs are being met…mine…hers…or, hopefully, both of ours?” Depression in grief is normal. The realization that “I am no longer number one with anyone,” is depression. The road leading to the future becomes a dead end, pun intended. Life seems drab and pointless. Food loses flavor. So many uncertainties converge that one feels stymied.

Depression slowly, surely gives way to concerns of the present…life must go on. Edna St. Vincent Millary said it in a poem:

Life must go on
And the dead be forgotten
Life must go on
Tho’ good men die;

Anne, eat your breakfast
Dan, take your medicine
Life must go on
I forget just why.