As someone who is no stranger to grief, there is one thing I know without a doubt: there is no right or wrong way to grieve, though people will tell you there is. These people, in my opinion, have never been directly affected by grief, because if they had, they would know that there is no truth to this. The truth is there is no correct way to grieve; there is no normal way. Grief is not clean and organized; perfectly laid it out in a step by step guide. Grief is messy, ugly, and disorganized.
They say that the last stage of grief is acceptance, but how do you accept someone’s death? How can you ever be expected to go back to your old life, when there is no going back? You are forever changed. The fact of the matter is that you can get over an ex-boyfriend or an ex-girlfriend, but you don’t get over someone you love being ripped from the world. You only get through it. You learn to rebuild a new life from the pieces of the old one. You learn to function in a new way; a way that doesn’t include the person you lost.
Some days it seems like a lifetime ago and other days it seems like yesterday when you were talking to them, hugging them, laughing with them. Some days you catch yourself forgetting they’re gone and other days the vast emptiness of the loss is so great, it steals your breath away. This is notion few understand; people expect you to get up and get back to normal. Little do they know that there is no more normal, because your reality is forever changed. Nothing will ever be the same, especially you.
There are days that are so unbelievably hard that you wonder how you will ever survive. Other days provide a sweet relief when you forget they are gone, even if only for a few seconds, but then the memory comes rushing back in such a force, it nearly knocks you off your feet. Each of these types of days are their own type of evil, but the best types of days are the ones when the grief is manageable. When you have long grown used to the emptiness in your heart, and are able to make it through the day without the weight of their memory crushing down on your chest. These are the days we revel in, because they are the ones that make life bearable.
I don’t think there will ever come a day when my grief will end; it only becomes a little more bearable as the years pass. That’s the secret no one tells you; it doesn’t end. You don’t wake up one day, finally free from the chains of your sorrow. Instead, you get accustomed to the heaviness and learn to live with it. Those us of us who have been grief stricken carry a horribly heavy weight each and every day, and we do so discreetly that some may mistaken it for honor. But there is no honor in grief; there is survival. It takes an incredible amount of strength; strength that many of us don’t discover until we need it to keep living.
None of us are ever safe from the pain of grief, for it is something we will all inevitably face. No one can save you from this; you will have to learn to save yourself. Save yourself from the crushing weight and the burning pain. Save yourself from the vast emptiness and the deep sadness. Save yourself from your scariest thoughts and deepest fears. the key? Remember that no matter how you are feeling or when you feel it; it is perfectly okay. Grief has no limitations; grieve the way you need to, because that is the only way to get through it.