“You’re so much stronger than I ever could be if I were in your shoes.” “You’re so strong.” “I don’t know how you are doing it. I couldn’t do it if I were you.” All of these statements have been said to me since my father passed away and people realized that I am dealing with some bad grief.
Whenever I heard these statements, I cringed. I so badly wanted to spit back, “I am not strong. I am breaking inside. I am just good at hiding it.” I also wanted to say, “If I am strong, it is not by choice. It is because I have to move on with my life even if I don’t want to. The world won’t let me shut down like I want to. I have no choice but to be strong and fight away the tears every day.”
In reality, if you are grieving, you have no choice but to be strong. Shutting down isn’t the option because the world moves on. Since the world moves on, we also have to. Saying the statement, “You are so strong” to someone who is grieving is sort of pointless. There is no other option but to be strong. And you don’t realize how strong you can actually be until you have to grieve over the loss of a loved one. Being strong sometimes isn’t what we choose to be, it’s just the only option we have.