When you lose a close relative or friend and sink into vibrations of grief and loss you tend to have a lot of questions. I often wonder when I ask a grief question, do I really want an answer? Do I even listen to the answer that some well meaning person asks? Is it more that I need to hear myself think? I need to figure it out or just express the question or concern or sheer pain out in the hope I get some relief in my head and my heart.
In my experience, deep down, I really know there is no answer to many of the questions that come after a bereavement, but I ask the questions anyway?
Asking Questions Is Normal
Asking questions seems a normal thing to do when you are in a new situation. Asking questions is a way to help reason out the loss that has just happened. Asking questions could be your way of saying something at a time when there is really nothing to say.
You don’t want to talk about how you are feeling, least not directly anyway. I think that is why the questions could be a way of communicating how you are doing without admitting how you are doing because if you admitted that to yourself you might fall down the big black hole of painful grief and you fear you might never come back out again!
Grief can be that painful and that dark.
Death Can Leave You With So Many Questions
- Why did this happen?
- Why take her/him and not me?
- Why didn’t the doctors find a cure?
- Why did they keep getting sick?
- What if I had gone instead?
- Why was I saved?
- Why did they have to get sick?
- Why didn’t the treatment work?
- Why has God done this to me?
- What if … the doctors had done that blood test earlier?
- What if they had tried a different treatment?
- What if….
There are so many questions, the list here is just a very small example. Quite often when I think I have an answer to one of those questions, more and more questions suddenly pop into my head.
Why Do We Ask Questions In Grief
The question that is coming into my head right now is, why do we ask so many questions, when we are grieving? What are we trying to get from asking all these questions?
The first thing that comes to me is an image of a three or four year old who just has to ask questions? All the why questions. If you have ever spent time with a little person you know all the questions that I’m talking about.
When an answer is given to that naturally inquisitive child, there might be a short period of silence while they decide if the answer fits for the question. Just when you think you have found the all important answer for them, up comes another question, or that ultimate question of – ‘but why’?
Do Questions Help Figure Out Grief
That 3/4 year old is trying to figure it out whatever it is they are processing! When you lose someone or something through death or separation, perhaps all your questions are just a natural part of your trying to ‘figure it out’. Perhaps questions are a way of helping you to come to terms with that deep sense of loss in your life.
When you ask questions I wonder are you seeking to get answers or more to reason it all out for yourself in your own head. Is it your way to find meaning in this loss? Trying to make sense of what has just happened, especially when the loss has been sudden and traumatic.
Perhaps the loss was not sudden, but it was a huge loss for you in your life. Maybe there was a long term illness and you put all your questions on hold and now they are coming fast and furious.
You Want To Make Sense Of Your Loss
We are logical beings and we like to be able to make sense for ourselves and our life experiences at a logical and thinking level. I’m not sure that any attempt to figure out loss at a logical level can even come close to easing the pain that loss leaves in your heart. But the questions may help you get a break from the pain of loss, or even come to terms with it a little more.
Maybe There Are No Answers
With time, a gradual dawning begins to happen. There are no answers to ease this pain. There are no solutions to this problem. My loved one has gone. My relationship has ended and there is no making sense of this huge hole in my heart. I have to live with this loss for the rest of my life.
The Grief Questions I have asked
I have experienced lots of different losses through my life. Some of these losses were family relatives and others were very close friends. On reflection sometimes I have lots of questions and other times I don’t have any at all.
This might be because as I have gotten older, my own attitude and belief system has changed in relation to grief and loss. Maybe, I’ve got used to having grief and loss in my life.
When my Grandfather passed over, I was 13 years old. My main questions were: how did he stop breathing? Why do we have to put him in the ground? How can I talk to him when he is not here?
When my uncle passed over aged 45, I was 19. I had lots of different questions; How could God let this happen to my aunt and her children? Why would God take such a young man who loved living? I was very angry – at God, at the world – this was a sudden death that had left a lot of people grief stricken.
I had similar questions when my brother-in law passed away leaving my sister and her four boys so traumatised and lost in a sea of grief. How could this happen? How can I fix this for my sister? How do I help? Can anything ease this pain? Why does this happen? It didn’t take me long to realise I couldn’t fix it. This huge loss could never be fixed. No loss can. This left me distraught and exhausted from trying so hard to do what could not be done. Not to mention the loss I also felt at this time, but swallowed back because I needed to mind my sister and her beautiful family.
A Different Question
Another question I have heard asked, and it is slightly different to the questions above, is: ‘What would X say or do if they were here right now’. I have heard this used when someone is trying to figure out what to do in a situation or how to be in that situation after a loss.
This question, for me, indicates a slight change for the person as they begin to relate differently to their grief and loss. They are beginning to related to the person that has left or died, in a different way.
Such a question can help people to feel comforted by the memories and past support of that loved one. For others, it can set off a greater sense of the loss.
No One Size Fits All In Grief And Loss
There is no one size fits all at any stage when it comes to grief and loss. Every single one of us will have a different experience and the key thing is to accept that this is okay for all of us.
Grief Doesn’t Make Sense
My grief questions are my way of trying to make sense. More questions means I need to figure it out more. Possibly I will never make sense of it all. No Matter how many questions are asked, I’m not sure we will ever make sense of our loss. The questions may eventually ease, only to be replaced with other aspects of mourning.
Ask Your Questions About Your Loss
Know that your questions are okay. People may get fed-up with all your questioning, just like we can get fed-up with that 3/4 year old’s questions… my advice is go find someone who will allow you to ask your questions.
Are Grief Questions About Needing To Talk
To the person who has questions directed at them, sometimes the best thing to do is not try to answer those questions, but rather ask that all important questions back: I really don’t know, what do you think? Maybe this is the question that will offer the grieving person the chance to talk (as much as they need or want) out their grief and cry out their loss with a safe and trusted friend.
Your Answers Will Change With Experience
Another thing about questions is that your answers will change as your own understanding, learning and experience of grief and loss changes.
In Conclusion – Grief Questions Help
In conclusion I think that questions are a natural and normal part of the grieving process. Questions help you to reason things out a little, or even just begin the process of grieving. Questions are necessary and normal and it is okay to ask them. Remember, just like the 3 or 4 year old, not every questions needs an answer, but just to he heard as part of grief and loss.
A Safe Place To Get Creative With Your Grief And Loss
Recently I began to offer a Creative Space for small groups of 3 or 4 people to come and get creative with grief and loss. A place to just be with those questions, and hear the questions others have. A place to use colour to express what your words can’t. A place to maybe feel a little more supported by others going through similar experiences. You can learn more here.
Right Now there is 20% off All 1:1 and Group Sessions. The discount will be applied automatically at checkout.