Who weeps alone? It is not uncommon for individuals who loose a loved one, or even not so loved, on occasions to shed the private tears. However, many people are inclined to keep a "stiff upper lip", put on the brave face and carry on with Life. Having dealt with death for many years as a healthcare professional, seeing and dealing with it first hand, supporting families, and fellow colleagues at a difficult and painful time. I also had the difficult challenge myself, emotionally, physically, spiritually and psychologically over the last couple of years of living with, and caring for my father-in-law. He lived with dementia, lung disease and frailty. Unfortunately, he died on the 1st of January this year, whilst at home after an acute infection, and rapid deterioration. We had the privilege to care for him at home during his last days, and again, I was privileged to be holding his hand at his bed side when he died.
Even though he was my father-in-law and could be a challenging individual at times, but then when you got to know him and his story one could understand, I stilled loved him, probably more than I had realised until he died. Even in the past few days I shed a tear spontaneously, after a sudden memory came to mind. These spontaneous moments can be triggered, by the slightest memory, location, phrase, or familiarity. Admittedly, I would attempt to, try and hide my tears, for the benefit of my wife, "needing to be strong for her", but am I? Many professionals, counsellors, and life experienced elders would tell us that this is not constructive, for both one's own mental and physical health, I would tend to agree. Therefore, I should allow myself to be open for my wife, as this shows an affiliation, not similarity, with her pain and grief, supporting one another in, and through the pain, and hard times. When one is weak the other is strong and 'visa versa', strength is gained in joint support through the open tears, memories, and talking.
However, in this time of exceptional international circumstances with #lockdown, and #selfisolation due to #coronavirus, few are having the opportunity to say their goodbyes, tell their loved ones they love them, have that one last hug, or hold their hands during their last moments. Also, many are even unable to attend funeral and cremation services. Who weeps alone? Why let them weep alone? A question, an emotional response, a challenge. We discuss death readily through the medium of the press, radio social media etc, all at a distance of course. Is this a depiction of modern society, and the ability to express ones self only through the social postings. It is not uncommon to congratulate ones family and friends via a social post, to express our own self achievements, express political, or personal opinions of political situations, and other people's lives. Then again, unfortunately, we all too often hear of the remote berating, criticising, and verbal assaults of individuals via social media, forums, and posts. However, this not the time to discuss these distance attacks on individuals.
The question is; how do we support, comfort, actually 'be there for' those who weep? In a time when Community is more important than ever, we need to connect, have that sense of belonging, and being part of something, a collective, a social conscience is imperative. So, what can we do? Can we post a card/letter through the box, can we drop off a box of chocolates, leave a pot plant on the doorstep, make a call, be creative.