A week or so ago I was speaking to my son about how he is handling things following Maggie's passing. He lives in Southern California and I think feels even more alone because of the distance. He does have his girlfriend who is wonderfully supportive but they are both 400 miles away. He said he is generally doing OK, ups and downs like all of us. He said the hardest thing is when someone "gets in his bubble" about it when they don't belong there.
I knew what he meant instantly. Of course I've heard that expression before, but it rang so fitting as a description of how I handle my own grief. There is a bubble around all of us. Without this bubble we might not be able to get through the day at all. We can throw ourselves into work or projects and maintain some semblance of normalcy because of this bubble. It protects us from the overwhelming grief that surrounds us and protects us from other well meaning people who want to penetrate it with advice or probing questions or even unwanted attention. When they manage to do so, it's very uncomfortable.
The thing is everybody has a different bubble. It comes in all shapes and sizes and includes or excludes as many people as necessary to get though the day. Different people are allowed in the bubble at different times. Sometimes it's hard to know whether or not you are part of someones bubble at any given time. That can be difficult for people, but I assure you it's not as difficult as going through life with this bubble nor having the fragile bubble break.
For those of you who do not have a grief bubble around you, I will give you this piece of advice. Do not presume you are part of someones bubble. Always respect the bubble and ask gently for permission to enter. It will likely be granted just because you showed the respect. But if it isn't, don't take offense. It has nothing to do with you. Stay just outside letting one know you are there when they need you, but you will not intrude. That is a tremendous gift.
"Respect the bubble."