I am terrible at grieving. I can’t even believe I’m writing a blog about it because usually bloggers share how to do something they are good at. But I admit, I suck at it. Pure and simple. Grief is like a Dementor in Harry Potter – https://www.hp-lexicon.org/creature/dark-creatures/dementors/
Grief sucks at the very marrow of one’s being.
When someone close to me has died, whether it was sudden or expected, it tore at the very fabric of my being. And trying to function, while in a state of active grief, is very difficult. Unfortunately, our society does not allow us to “grieve well.” There’s an expectation that we return to life as functional as soon as possible after a death. They tell us how strong we are or how well we are doing. Those who take the lonely road of real grief know: It’s a hard journey.
And yet, as hard as it is to grieve, the idea of letting go of someone and moving on, can almost seem like betrayal. That when I attempt to return to life on any kind of functioning basis seems like I’m denying someone’s memory. Nothing is farther from the truth. I am not a counselor and have no formal theraputic training. I have had a lot of experience with grief. Here’s what I’ve learned:
Even months after someone died, my grief was so strong, so tangible that I had trouble functioning. People, loved ones, well meaning friends, did not understand the level of my grief. Grief feels like a lonely path. Sometimes, mo one seems to want to talk about it. No one seems to understand why you can’t snap your fingers and return to normal high level functioning. Hence, we have to become our own advocates.
Here are some rules for grieving:
- Be gentle with yourself. You are not weak, you are grieving.
- Grief does not have a linear timetable – you don’t have to be “fine” on anyone’s schedule. Because let’s face it, we will never be ‘fine’ and let’s face it, we never were.
- Grief is not one dimensional. You may experience resentment, anger and other feelings about the person who died. It doesn’t diminish the relationship you had. But it does help you reconcile the feelings you are currently dealing with.
- Death ends a life, but it doesn’t end a relationship. You can continue to have a relationship with someone after death. And only you get to define that relationship without judgment.
Is there anyone else who struggles with grief? I am looking to explore further how we can emerge through the grieving process.