Now before you dedicated duffers out there start throwing your clubs at me, let me explain.
Golf is usually a one person sport. Sure, you may play a scramble, cup match or use a caddy now and then, but for the most part, there is only one person on the team when you are playing golf. The success or failure of reaching your goal (whether it be to break 100 or to shoot par) rests solely on your shoulders.
Football, of course, is quite different. You can’t have a one person team and the success or failure of reaching the end zone rests on the shoulders of each person doing their part.
Which leads me to conclude that football is better than golf when it comes to mourning.
Remember, grief is what happens on the inside in our hearts, our minds, our spirits and our bodies. Mourning is how we express grief on the outside of ourselves.
And in that journey of grief, the only way to come through it in a healthy way is to mourn it with others because…mourning is a team sport.
So why do so many try to do it on their own without others? Well there are three main reasons I often hear…
1) “I don’t want to burden others with my problems.” This is the classic reason. You don’t want to ask for help or tell people that you really aren’t doing “fine” because you don’t want to bring them down. It sounds real good and martyr-like, but really isn’t healthy. You need others who will be able to listen to you and share the burden of your grief. You need to sit on the front porch with Aunt Bea, Sheriff Andy, Barney Fife and even Opie and share out loud what is going on deep inside of you. By saying you don’t want to burden them, you are insulting them by saying that they aren’t strong enough to bear what you have to say. If it makes you feel any better, consider that by sharing your problems and how you are dealing with them it will help them in the future when they face death. So pass this reason out of bounds and “burden” other people with your mourning.
2) “I must be strong for the others.” Somewhere along the way, we have bought into the lie that we must never show weakness. We reason that if we show weakness that we are somehow weak. And especially for those of us who are leaders in our family relationships and friendships, we feel we must continue to be a strong leader even though we are crumbling on the inside. Truth is, the strongest leadership you can provide while grieving is to show others how to mourn. By sharing your weakness, you will grow stronger. So punt that reason right out of the stadium of your mind and show your strength through weakness.
3) “They won’t understand.” Well, you got me on this one. You’re right! They don’t understand what you are feeling and they won’t understand what you are feeling…unless you tell them. That’s why you have to educate them on your unique grief. They may not have experienced what you are experiencing, but the chances are they will in the future. If it makes you feel better, consider yourself to be a teacher of grief. So block that reason right out of your thoughts and help others understand.
Whatever your reasons have been for keeping your mourning to yourself, it is time to tackle those reasons to the ground. It is time to find others to join your team called Grief who will listen compassionately and non-judgmentally. It’s the way to victory.