At some point, everyone will have to deal with loss and grief. Whether it’s the loss of a pet, relative, or friend, it can affect us in ways we never expected. I recently suffered a loss that was unexpected and quite possibly the hardest thing I’ve ever had to endure in my life.
We hear sayings like, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger?” and “There’s a purpose in everything.” In the moment, these things can sound like, “You’re making a bigger deal out of this than is necessary.” I’ve been lucky to not hear any of those dismissive statements.
But there are some lessons I have learned:
Take your time. There’s no set amount of time that you are supposed to handle getting over the loss of someone or something you care about. Sometimes, you never get over the loss, and it’s just a matter of learning to live your life with what has happened.
Find people who can help and support you. Many of us live needing support every day. In times of loss, it’s even more important to have help and support that goes beyond the day to day. In my situation, I really had to identify what was slipping. This meant talking to people about what was and was not happening. Then the next step of asking for that help and support. For me, it was finding 2-3 people who I could depend on to coordinate that support as well.
Crying is not a bad thing. If you don’t cry in times of loss and grief, I’m not saying you have to. But, if you need to, know that it is fine to cry. It’s really not a bad thing. It is actually a good thing if that is what you need. I feel like a lot of us are told that you can’t cry about things or that we’re being bad or defiant or something just overall negative if we do. It’s just not true.
Talk about how you are feeling often. Even if you’re not talking to the same person, or if you’re saying the same things, or if you’re just putting it out there not to any particular person, talk often about how you are feeling. Even if there are no exact words, talk about that confusion. Just talk, talk, talk. Typing, or art, or out loud, or through music, just get your emotions out. Eventually, it will make sense even if not to you, but to someone, who can help you through the tangled web of emotions. By not keeping it to yourself, you can start crawl forward, step forward, walk forward, run forward and eventually re-enter the world that paused.
Grief is a hard thing. Sometimes it can take hours, days, weeks, months, years to learn to live with. It’s not about becoming stronger. It’s not about learning some grand lesson. It’s just a part of life that we must all endure. I just hope that I can teach something to make it easier for you when it’s your turn.