As a Millennial, we handle things completely different when it comes to grief and our feelings that our parents and grandparents. To the generations before us, it seems odd and backwards, to us it's healing. Let's be clear though, there is not a cut and dry way to deal with grief. Those before us didn't do it wrong and we are not doing it wrong. In fact, the Millennials might actually have it figured out, after all, don't we already know it all? So here it is, the Millennials guide to grief.
1.) We Air It All-You read that right, all that "dirty laundry" we air it all out and with pride. We hide nothing and we want everyone to see it. In fact we don't really see much on the grief journey that we share as "dirty laundry" we see it as an opportunity to heal and help others heal in the process. It's not an attention seeking thing, it's that we want others to know that feelings need to be shared. Emotions should not be hidden and kept to yourself out of fear of what others may think. In fact, if a fellow Millennial sees you sharing your true emotions and feelings about grief, chances are they will encourage you to keep sharing.
2.) Don't Tell Us How To Grieve- We already have it figured out, didn't you know that? We don't need you to give us the stages of grief. We not only know what to expect, we have it mapped out our own way and what works best for us. This is actually a good thing, Millennials, myself included are showing others that it's okay to step outside of the box when it comes to grief and how it's expressed and even celebrated. From Celebrations of Life to recording your grief to share with the social media world. We've opened up a whole new level of grieving and it's not a bad thing.
3.) I Won't Apologize For It- I refuse to apologize to anyone for how I grieve or for how long I grieve. It's my grief, it's my loss, it's my person that is gone and it's my heart that is aching. I had a love for this person that you cannot understand nor do I expect you to. Therefore, my grief will look different than yours and last a different amount of time. I refuse to apologize for my grief and how I respond to it and for how long. You can't make me apologize for it either so don't even try.
4.) We Tell Grief How It's Going To Go- Millennial's don't sit back and wait for grief to creep up on them and consume our days. We don't allow grief to tell us how we are going to feel and when we are going to feel it. We tell grief how this journey is going to go because that's just how we Millennial's roll. Grief trying to make me feel upset because my Mom has passed away? Hey grief, not today. Instead I am going to think about all the amazing years and memories I had with my Mom. You see, we turn the tables on grief because we are in control.
5.) Grief Becomes Our Mission-Millennial's like to see things as a life mission to help others rather than a job or career. Therefore, when a Millennial becomes a griever it's our life mission to help others on the grief journey. We want to know everything about grief, how we can take control of it, what we can do about it, how we can use it to help others, how we can use our story to help others and we get out there and do it. We don't have the time to stop and think of grief as a weakness but instead we see it as a perseverance we never knew we had.
Millennial's might seem entitled, might think we have it all together and know more than everyone else. However, there are some really good things about Millennial's and that is we are willing to step outside the box, support one another unconditionally and not apologize for it. That's the kind of friend you need on this grief journey.