It’s OK to Not Be OK: National Grief Awareness Day
We have heard it many times, especially during this unprecedented year and a half of the pandemic: It’s okay to not be okay. Yes, it is okay to not be okay when your kids are pulling at your arm every five minutes to ask for a snack or to find a new shirt or to help with their math homework. It’s okay to not be okay when your boss is emailing you and adding five new things to your plate when you can barely handle the load you already have. It’s okay to not be okay when your partner tells you he is coming home from work late and that you will be on your own for bedtime even though the day has felt a million hours long. We are being told that it is okay to not be okay, but we still need to carry on.
What about when you feel like you just can’t carry on? What do you do then? Every year, on the same days, I feel like I may not be able to carry on. The days on the calendar that represent the anniversary of my sister’s death and her birthday are two of those days. There are some days where the thought of carrying on is just too hard to do.
August 30 is National Grief Awareness Day. In most cases, the specific date, August 30, may mean nothing to you, but it is a day for you to sit with your grief, to support others, and to raise awareness.
Feel Without Distraction
Unlike the anniversary of someone’s passing or a birthday of someone you lost, National Grief Awareness Day is one where you may not receive sympathetic messages or calls from friends and loved ones. On August 30, take some time to feel without distraction. Do what feels right for you. Whether it be a visit to the cemetery, looking at old pictures, sharing stories, or writing your feelings out, take some time with no distractions to sit with your emotions.
Use Your Knowledge of Grief to Support Someone Else
When my sister passed, there were few people who understood my loss. Those around me did their best to help me through it, but not everyone knows what to do or how to help. Although there is nothing to do to make it any better, there were many things that made it worse for me. As someone who has experienced loss, I know that there is no correct way to grieve. There are stages of grief that everyone goes through, but there is no timeline or right way to do it. On National Grief Awareness Day, reach out to someone who has grieved or is grieving to help support one another.
Talk to Someone
You are not in this alone, although grieving can feel isolating. Talk to someone. Let someone talk to you. Support someone by talking about your experience to let them know that they are not alone. Let them know and feel okay in saying that you are not okay. It’s okay to not be okay.
If you haven’t suffered loss, take an inventory of the people in your life who have. National Grief Awareness Day is a time to connect with them to remind them that you are there for them.