I remember once describing grief like a hurricane.
There are moments of extreme intensity where you aren’t quite sure if you’re going to be able to survive the rising waves, extreme wind, or debris everywhere. And then in the middle of your grief storm, there’s a calm. And you think that maybe you’ve made it through. But you soon learn it’s just the eye of the storm and more wind, waves, and debris are coming your way.
Up until the last ten years of my life I thought I understood what grief was. But as with anything, you don’t truly understand something until it hits incredibly close to home.
The loss of my grandmother was difficult. But she was sick for many years and I was able to slowly make peace before she left. My mother, whom I was very close with, who passed away a little over 2 years ago, was different though. The unexpected, the “should haves”, and the daily reminders since then have wrecked me.
You don’t ever “get over” grief. It’s always laying beneath the surface ready to rear its ugly head at the most unexpected times. But the tears aren’t always sad tears, sometimes they’re mixed with those happy ones as you seek to hold onto the good memories.
But something you aren’t prepared for with grief, is being forgotten.
I remember a little over 6 years ago I was talking with a friend who lost a child through miscarriage. It was about a year or two after the loss and I just randomly texted him to ask how he was doing. What he said really struck me. He said, “I can’t tell you how much it means that you would even ask, it’s like everyone else has forgotten about my son, even though I experience the pain daily.”
You see, when you experience an extreme and personal loss everyone comes to your side, sends food, checks in on you, and helps you walk the path.
But what no one told me about grief was that while others would continue moving on with their lives, you still feel the loss daily.
And at times, you can feel completely forgotten. Alone. Wondering why no one ever checks in.
Grief makes you isolate if you aren’t careful and don’t deal with all the complexities. Because you see, you aren’t forgotten.
Sometimes people don’t know how to bring it up without feeling uncomfortable. Some don’t know you’re still hurting if you don’t ever tell them.
Lean into the grief. Process the emotions. Know it’s ok to still cry at a single smell or visual reminder of your loved one.
Though at times we can feel like we’re grieving alone, we never truly are. As Ryan Stevenson says in the music video below, “sometimes the only way to heal a broken heart, is when we fall apart”.