My father-in-law passed away this week. My husband and I cried together when we first heard the news about it his dad. But over the next 24 hours I found myself realizing how differently he and I grieve. I haven’t had a whole lot of time to process, and will probably blog about this topic again in a month or so, but initial observations confirm what I see in every other of life – personalities affect every aspect of our lives.

I am a Yellow/Red. I think my first reaction was probably typical for a Yellow – I cried. Of course I do; I’m always express my feelings. I wanted hugs and physical proximity and affection. I’m always that way too….but even more so in the midst of emotional situations. I wanted to talk about it with others. I wanted to post pictures on Facebook and share memories and tell people in my life what had happened. Again, this is often how I process events so of course that was going to be my reaction to something big too.

My husband is primarily Green. Of course the loss hit him hard and he was emotional. It was a shock to all of us.But he needed some alone time. He wanted privacy. He needed some space. I thank God that I understand personality differences and could sense our different reactions. I did make a few calls to family members who needed to know, but I refrained from posting anything publicly until he was ready for me to do so. As much as I wanted to just sit in his arms and cry with him, I had to discern when that was okay, and when I needed to give him space.

This morning my husband asked me to help with some of the logistics of finding a hall for the memorial and planning the time for family and friends to celebrate his dad’s life. I jumped at the invitation and went to work. I realized that this was my Red side responding. I wanted to DO something….because that’s what Reds do  best. I am so grateful to be able to contribute something practical. That is at the core of a Red personality. (Note: Let other people help they offer. Like the Reds from my husband’s office who arranged meals, and delivered some personal things that he had left in the office.)

Losing a parent hard. We’re sad. But understanding that each of us needs to grieve and process in our way helps, especially for a couple whose personalities are opposite. It’s okay if we don’t cry at the same time. We just need to be aware of what we are feeling and why we are responding the way we do.

Have you ever experienced this in your own life? Do you grieve “differently” than others around you? How has recognizing this helped you through it? Please post a comment if you are willing to share.

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