Today is day two of National Grief Awareness Week! (Again, I really like National Grief Awkwardness Week!)
And I want to share a personal story about the birthday fairy and grief do-overs.
Two weeks ago was my daughter's 24th birthday, and I kinda didn't go all out.
Actually, the words "kind of" are a cop-out.
I didn't get all out.
I had a plan.
I had the supplies.
The birthday fairy didn't hang the usual myriad of stickies on my bathroom mirror and in my bedroom to remind me to take action, and the morning of her birthday, I let something else distract me, so the birthday fairy ran out of time before my daughter woke up.
Birthday celebrations in our home involve decorating by the birthday fairy, who has a narrow span of decorating prowess and is only willing to use streamers, balloons, and one birthday banner. But she gets the job done.
The birthday fairy is a constant. Except seven months after Art died, the fairy forgot to show up for Pallas's 10th birthday.
And two weeks ago, she let something else distract her. So what does a birthday fairy do?
Instead of feeling bad about what she didn't do, how she missed the opportunity, focusing on how awkward she felt, or how bad a mom, I mean, fairy, she was for forgetting, she got over the feelings and did a do-over. (The photo is of the birthday fairy's note for Pallas.)
She understood that missing and not doing anything was worse than missing and trying again.
In our inner perfect world, we would always know what to say to someone grieving, how to inspire our grieving teams and know that whatever we said helped the grieving person feel better.
But luckily, we don't live in a perfect world!
We live in a world where making mistakes is humbling and reminds us of our humanness. Every mistake we make is an opportunity to cultivate resilience and demonstrate to others what resilience looks like.
Every mistake we make is part of an ongoing project of becoming more authentically themselves.
So, if you have awkwardly said the wrong thing to a grieving person, you're on the right path.
Be like the birthday fairy.
Give yourself a break.
Do a do-over.