Guest Writer: Elijah Neal
Mackenzie Fair once told me that “grief is like walking through peanut butter.”
I really connect with the truth behind her comment. Not only is grief sticky, it is tough. Grief is not creamy peanut butter; it is extra crunchy. Grief is a long process of wading through pain and loss.
I lost my best friend Tim Haurez last year.
He was the most encouraging person in my life. He affirmed me, and he was sincere when he did it. I miss him a lot. Pain struck me hard on October 1st, and it struck me again on the 6th when I totaled my car coming back from his funeral.
When pain strikes, people may want to help. Friends, peers and strangers offer advice and hugs. In the past, it has been frustrating to deal with comments and concerns from people who do not know how to help.
We try so hard to help people in pain, but we can say some very human things. So many hurtful things have been said from ministers, counselors, friends and strangers. I do not know if this makes sense, but I have felt that I have to act sad or happy for certain people because of what they expect from me. I hate that it feels like I have to wear a mask, but it seems that some people do not believe me when I say I am good.
It could be worse than that. Sometimes no one is around when you need them. This could be because you pushed them away, because they do not think that you need them, or because they are not there at the right moment.
Community is important especially when wrestling with grief. That is why we need people around. We need people around even if they do not know how to help.
Community is important, even if people screw up when they try to help us. A screwed-up person is better than no person at all. We all screw up.
I hope you have people in your life who authentically care about you. I hope you have people in your life who know how you are doing today, and I hope that they trust you. I also hope you trust them.
Walking through peanut butter can be hard, but you cannot do it alone. Trust the people around you, and accept their help—even if it makes you angry. Some day you might not be doing well, and you will need those friends and strangers in your life.
As for me, personally, I am doing well. Grief comes and goes. I have good moments and bad moments, but my days are good.
Even October 1st was good because I got a good girlfriend, and I found some positive light in my friend’s death. I started a club called Together In Media—TIM for short.
The club’s aim is to share Anderson in a positive light, and we hope to continue to build a better community among us. If you have any questions about any of this, do not be afraid to ask. I would love to talk to you. We need to walk together.
Elijah is a junior Bible and religion major from Woodstock, Georgia.