I’ve recently experienced the loss of a loved one in my life. I’m sure many of you can relate to how it feels. It’s the kind of loss that makes you realize that nothing is ever going to be the same. The kind of loss that changes who you are forever.
I’m realizing that grief is fluid. It ebbs and flows. It hits out of nowhere and it hits hard. A song, a memory, even driving by a particular restaurant can trigger tears. Sometimes it even feels weird to laugh or be happy. It’s hard when the rest of the world continues on while your world has literally stopped.
I wanted to share with you something that’s been helpful for me, in case you are on a grief journey of your own. For years I have given a book to grieving clients called “Tear Soup”. It wasn’t until recently that I pulled the book off my bookcase and read it for myself.
Disclaimer: “Tear Soup” is a children’s book. Please don’t let that stop you from reading it. It is just as relevant to adults as it is to children.
“Tear Soup” is about Grandy, who just experienced a huge loss of her own. She and her husband Pops are both grieving, but their grief looks very different. Grandy wants to be around people and tell her story, and cry and laugh. Pops wants to be alone and cry to himself.
The story talks about how we all make our own version of Tear Soup when we suffer a loss. For some, it’s a huge pot that we weep into, and add all of our “ingredients”, including memories, regrets, and emotions. Sometimes we share this soup with our support system. For others, Tear Soup is a smaller pot with less ingredients, and it’s only consumed alone. Both versions are okay.
People may try to tell you how to make your Tear Soup. They may tell you that you’re doing it wrong, that you’re taking too much time to make it or not enough. They may try to relate to you by talking about when they’ve made Tear Soup. They may try to force you to share it with them, even if they’re not safe people to do so with. Grieve how you need to.
Ultimately, you need to make Tear Soup at your own pace, with your own ingredients and share it with who you want when you want. It’s okay to take breaks from making Tear Soup as needed, and it’s okay to bring it back out when it feels necessary. It’s okay for your Tear Soup to evolve and change over time. This doesn’t mean you love the person any less—it just means you’re on a path to healing. And that’s okay.
Written by Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW
*Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW is a licensed therapist at Journey to Joy Counseling. Christy enjoys doing marriage/couples counseling, individual counseling, premarital counseling. She also provides family counseling, teen and adolescent counseling.
Journey to Joy Counseling serves the Indianapolis area, including Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.