Grief is such an odd little monster. I’ve been thinking about this for a little while and I’m still so surprised by the nature of the beast.
Let me start by saying that I was in my extremely early 20s when I trained as a counsellor and I diligently learnt the stages of grief and read Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and thought I knew how grief worked. Then my mum died. (You can read more about that here)
Here’s what I learnt about grief through life, not books.
– It sucks.
– It is not linear – you can’t tick off one stage and then head to the next, expecting to reach the end goal of ‘being at peace’ and accepting your loss.
– It is messy and pops up at the most unexpected times – it’s completely unpredictable.
My mum died nearly 12 years ago and I can still be in tears at the slightest thing – a friend’s casual of talking to their mum on the phone; a song from her funeral; a scent which triggers a memory. Most of the time, I’m absolutely fine and then WHAM! out of the blue – tears.
Over a short period of time, I lost (SUCH a stupid term – I didn’t lose them, I know exactly where they are!) my gran and grandad and my aunt. My aunt, particularly, hit me hard. It felt like she was my last link to my mum, and that when she died that was the end of my mum’s side of the family.
I’ve found a new belief about grief over the past year or so. I feel like when it is at its most fresh, grief is all-encompassing, and as you start to come through the worst of it, it just settles and finds a place in your life. I don’t think you ever really ‘lose’ grief, you just find a way to live with it. My grief is a part of me, a part of my life and I don’t find this depressing. It just means that I love well and deeply, and that is something I’m proud of.
What are your beliefs on grief? How do you deal with it?