I don’t mean to get all sappy on you, but I grieve a LOT! Sometimes over things that seem trivial. Like the ripe avocado I bought five days ago, or my favorite skirt that is now too tight around the middle, or when it rains.
I know that all sounds trite. But that’s my point. Grief manifests like a chameleon. It can show up in unsuspecting ways. Beyond what we believe is culturally and socially acceptable. Even in times when there’s a loss, it can feel confusing and painful.
When I lost my mother more than eight years ago, the pain of losing her was unbearable. At times it still feels as raw and real to me as it did the day I sat staring at her casket. There are no words I can write now to describe it, except to share an excerpt from a whole chapter that I wrote about Grief in my book Don’t Look at the Monster.
Each morning, I’d drag myself out of bed, open my laptop, and just stare at it, just stare at it, trying so desperately to muster up the energy to do what I’d promised Ma I would do.
Heartbroken, I’d march into my bedroom, undress, wrap myself back up in my blankets, and sleep. I didn’t want to eat. I didn’t want to think, I didn’t want to live. Not without Ma.
I hated Grief.
Grief pulled me into a dark, dark place and snapped me like a twig. There were days when I just curled into a fetal position and cried, and nights when Grief ripped me from what little sleep I was getting and reminded me of what I would’ve, should’ve, could’ve done. Grief made me walk into the grocery store, the bank, Target, Walmart, and break down. Grief told me it was my fault that Ma was gone.
Grief would knock me down one day and pick me up the next, telling me that it was okay to let it go. Just let it go, Grief encouraged. Let it go…
Now Grief was the closest thing I had to God.
When we lose someone the emotional distress and turmoil what we experience can be devastating. Even so, we can also experience similar distress when we lose something that we intrinsically value like our freedom, identity, a friendship or relationship, health, job, home, pet, a cherished dream.
Whatever the loss, it’s personal! Therefore, you shouldn’t feel guilty or apologetic or believe that Grief is only fitting for certain types of loss.
In fact, in the article Coping with Grief and Loss, HelpGuide.org points out:
“Grief is a highly individual experience; there’s no right or wrong way to grieve. How you grieve depends on many factors, including your personality and coping style, your life experience, your faith, and how significant the loss is to you.”
It goes on to point out that there are many myths and facts about Grief. Among them are:
- The pain will go away faster if you ignore it.
- It’s important to “be strong” in the face of loss.
- If you don’t cry, it means you aren’t sorry about your loss.
- Grieving should last about a year.
- Moving on with life means forgetting about your loss.
I think it’s safe to say that if you’ve experienced Grief, you can relate to one or more of these myths.
“They were never meant to help tuck messy emotions into neat packages. They are responses to loss that many people have, but there is not a typical response to loss, as there is no typical loss. Our grieving is as individual as our lives.”
So the next time Grief shows up, know that your reaction is very much your own. You have the right to grieve however or for as long as you need, and the one thing that you should consider is time.
XO… Stay inspired!