Sunday, February 28, 2010

Dealing with Grief - Tear Soup

When my father-in-law passed away, I looked for a way to help my children deal with their grief. I checked out every book our library had on the topic, mostly those I could read to them. Of all the books we read, Tear Soup was the one that touched us all. But I probably benefitted most of all.

Tear Soup is the story of an older woman facing grief. It is never mentioned exactly what has happened but she works through her grief by making a pot of tear soup. As time goes on, she continues to make tear soup but it changes as time passes. What touched me most was the emphasis that everyone's tear soup is different.

As each of my children dealt with their grandfather's grief differently, I was able to comfort them according to their individual needs instead of being alarmed when one child didn't cry as much as another. What was most important to me was to keep the communication open and let them know I was here to support them and not judge them in their grief. Having read this book I was better able to accept the way a family member chose to deal with the death of her son. Instead of judgement, I was able to offer comfort.

The shocker came when my own father passed away. It was easy to grasp how my mother was making her tear soup. I was able to see how my husband was making his tear soup and how my children were making theirs. But I was blinded by my own grief. I struggled greatly with why my feelings weren't what I thought they would be. I felt certain that I knew myself well enough to know how I would grieve. Shouldn't I be crying more, shouldn't I feel stabbed when I heard his name, shouldn't I behave a certain way? When it didn't work out that way, I couldn't accept it. In fact, it wasn't until a few months later that Tear Soup clicked with me in a different way. If I could be understanding of how others' made their tear soup, couldn't I afford myself the same acceptance...that perhaps my own grief would not be what I thought it would be. As I began to accept that the grief I had was different than the grief I thought I would have, I began to move past dwelling on how I was grieving and focus on the love I have for my dad and how that doesn't change just because I can't talk to him on the phone.

Lessons learned...

Everyone grieves differently and the best thing I can do is offer them acceptance and understanding of their grief.

I may or may not grieve the way I think I will, that doesn't mean I'm not grieving.

As understanding as I am of others' grieving process, does not mean that they are in a position to be as understanding of my grieving process. I need to make my own tear soup and not be concerned if others do not think I am "making it the right way."

May the Lord bless you!!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That is amazing and so beautiful , may his memory be eternal! I love you .