Some people channel their grief into action: running errands, organizing, bringing food to the family.
Some people are very open with their feelings, talking and crying when they feel the need.
Then there are people who do both.
I envy them.
Those are people who feel comfortable expressing their feelings, even if it’s uncomfortable to others. They cry in front of us, not because they expect us to make everything better, but because they need to cry. When they’re not crying – and sometimes even if they are – they keep busy. They organize the gathering after the funeral service, they make sure everyone at the wake signs the condolence book, they sign for flower deliveries.
They’re able to compartmentalize in a way, except both expressions – crying and doing – are positive actions that help them work through their grief.
Once all the services are over, and everyone has returned to their lives, not as much needs to be done. There is a hole, a lack of “things” to keep them busy. That’s the time – as anyone who has grieved can tell you – when the silence can be overwhelming.
So when you encounter one of these grievers, and marvel at their focus and ability to express themselves, step back. Let them do what they need to do.
Then pick up the phone a week or so later, to break that awful silence. And let them know you’re there for them.