David Rossi: I’m sorry about Maeve. So, how long has it been now? Four months?
Dr. Spencer Reid: Three months and 15 days.
Rossi: That’s why you’re not sleeping. This can’t go on.
Reid: I realize that the socially acceptable amount of time to wallow in grief is coming to an end, and . . .
Rossi: That’s not what I mean. You wallow as long as you need, but talk to someone.
Reid: I feel like there are two types of people in this world, Rossi. The ones that get over their grief and move on, and the ones that descend into some sort of endless misery.
Rossi: I know how you feel. Give it time.
Reid: How much time? I thought by coming to work every day and helping other people, the pain would lessen, but it hasn’t . . .
So goes the conversation between two members of the Behavioral Analysis Unit of the FBI – Supervisory Special Agent Spencer Reid and his friend David Rossi, a Senior agent with the same title. They sit together, discussing the deaths of people they’ve loved. For Rossi it’s his Uncle Sal. For Reid it’s the love of his life, Dr. Maeve Donovan, who was murdered by her stalker. Pay close attention to Reid’s second line in the scene recounted above . . .
“I realize that the socially acceptable amount of time to wallow in grief is coming to an end, and . . .”
His friend assures him he’s allowed to wallow as long as he needs to; it’s a point upon which the writers of “Criminal Minds” and I agree. They understood Grief doesn’t care about “socially acceptable” amounts of time. Because Grief doesn’t own a watch. Or a calendar. So when the people who aren’t grieving decide to place time limits on the people who are, it never goes well. Ever.
Grief isn’t here one day and magically gone the next. It isn’t an unwelcome house guest of which you can eventually rid yourself. Once loss occurs and Grief takes up residence, it will never truly leave. Oh, as time passes it may take extended vacations, but there will always be a day when it returns. Loss changes us. Deep loss changes us forever—which is a very long time to be without someone you love. And please note . . . I said love. As in present tense. Not past. Not loved. Just as Grief will abide with you forever, so will the Love you shared.
About the author: Lisa Shackelford Thomas is a fourth generation member of a family that’s been in funeral service since 1926. She has been employed at Shackelford Funeral Directors in Savannah, Tennessee for over 40 years and currently serves as the manager there. Any opinions expressed here are hers and hers alone, and may or may not reflect the opinions of other Shackelford family members or staff.