Perhaps you have done this. The week has gotten away from you. Friends are coming over and the house is a wreck. You glance around and clothes are piled on top of the hamper. Your mail is stacked on the entryway table. The sink is full of dirty dishes. Toys are strewn about the family room floor. What can you possibly do to turn things around quickly? You put into action the age-old tradition of Hide-Away-Housekeeping.
Clothes are either tucked into the hamper or thrown on the floor of the closet. The mail is dumped into a drawer. The dishwasher is quickly stacked with dirty dishes. The array of toys disappear into an empty laundry basket and hidden in the kids’ closet. Using the Hide-Away-Housekeeping method allows you to successfully whip your house into shape so it is presentable to your friends. The truth is a secret and you fool everyone around you.
Walking through grief, you may be tempted to use this technique in order to make your life look neat and clean to the outside world that is looking in. While you feel as if your world is chaotic and lacking any sense of order, you fake it to show you have your act together. When you really feel as if you will fall apart at any moment with tears and emotions threatening to burst forth, you assure others you are fine and pretend your feelings are under control.
Though you are uncertain how to survive each new day, you paste a smile on your face and put one foot in front of the other so no one will know. Compartmentalizing your life as you journey through grief by not allowing people to see your pain may make sense to you. However, you are missing out on allowing others to step in and help you with support and encouragement because they think you are no longer dealing with the hurt and effects of loss.
There are advantages to being honest with yourself and with others when it comes to your needs. By letting people experience your grief with you, they not only know how to help you better, but they may be more prepared to face losses of their own when they arise. And they will arise. Everyone faces loss at some point in life. Taking the Hide-Away-Housekeeping approach fails to show what walking through grief is really like. While it may seem like a good idea at the moment, there will be a time when hiding the ugliness and pain catches up with you and you are forced to again face your loss later down the road.
It is better to be thorough when dealing with grief. Be honest and brave enough to admit your pain. Only by going through the hurt and anguish brought on by grief can you learn to move forward and eventually leave much of the pain behind. Addressing your needs and taking time to face sorrow will prevent surprises later on in the future.
Hide-Away-Housekeeping can cause you to forget where you stashed that pile of clean clothes or cause you to lose a bill or two in the scurry. In the same way, some day you may turn around and realize that a statement by someone or being forced to face another loss has triggered more pain than before. The wounds that you thought were gone and taken care of are now multiplied and messier than ever.
Do your best to admit to your needs and lean into your pain. If you are really having a good day, by all means proclaim that with joy and a smile. However, if you find yourself struggling and having a sad day, there is nothing wrong with being honest if someone inquires how you are doing. It may not always be a pretty picture, but it will the best one to present.
Until next time –
Choose to give hope to someone in your life today. Share Grief Letters with those you know walking through loss and sadness. This devotion book is filled with lessons learned from my own journey as well as suggested activities written to help achieve forward progress through grief.
Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.
Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674
Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667
E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650
Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.