The thing about grief is, it doesn’t leave you alone. First thing in the morning, you breathe and then it hits you, all over again. The reality – they’re gone. The pain hits the throat, making it hard to swallow whilst your brain starts to trace the steps remembering details, places, faces. Eyes sting as the recognition sets in and the reality that you have to get up and perform another day. Travelling to the very pit of your stomach, is the nausea train. The brain sends a message to the body, to get up. Not happening. Eyes trying to close as focussing did not work. Maybe more sleep will do it. Make me forget.
It seems, the more one tries to block it out, the more the head fills up. The more it fills up, the greater the come down. The higher the fall. To try and describe loss to someone who has not experienced a significant loss, is pointless. Metaphor after lengthy comparison, how could they get it? Who else could feel it, if they have not felt it.
Friends start off with the old, “I’m here for you” “anything you need, just ask” and they do mean it. To begin with. But, everything has it’s day. Everyone has their limit, their tolerance. Empathy runs thin. Interest grows cold. Topic gets tiring. Subject gets old.
So we go, the grievers. Painting on a happy face. Showing those who are there for us, that we are doing it. “Look at me, life going on…” Everyone tells you you’re coping well and to stay strong. Strong for who? I don’t need to be strong for me, I want to breakdown, to hate life and death and pain. I want to scream and shout, hate faith and love. So, it’s you I must be strong for, because you can’t handle me… if I’m not.
People text and ask “how are you?” and you reply “fine” when what you really want to say is, ‘don’t turn on the news cos you might see me about to jump off a bridge’ or ‘I’m having an actual breakdown, I’ve cried so much today that I look like I’ve gone a couple of rounds with Mike Tyson and forgot my gloves, thanks for asking’ or what about ‘how the chuff do you think I am feeling, honestly?’ Like I should be ‘over it’ by now because you’ve had enough of me feeling sad, or going over it or not wanting to forget. Not forgetting the “it will get easier” “life goes on” sorts.
When someone shares their story of loss, I feel sorry. I dont care how when or where, that doesnt matter to me. I am still sorry. There are no words to comfort someone in their time of grief. Grief is like a thick black fog, but only around you. When you look around, the world is bright and brightly coloured people are enjoying bright lives. You can’t reach them and are struggling alone through the smoldering, stifling thickness that belongs only to you. You can’t jump out of it, side step it, ignore it or smother it. Grief is an all consuming wave of fear, sadness and lack of hope.
Sometimes, folk find a group or a person or a someone, who has experienced a loss only they thought they felt. Sharing stories, exchanging tears. Life begins to not feel so lonely. You have connected with someone who feels it. Like alot of things in life, as humans we tend to be drawn to others like us. Not all humans are the same. Not all stories are the same. But pain, pain is the same. Loss is the same. Death, however it becomes us, is the same. Whatever we have in life, we all end up the same, in death.
There are no magic wands, quick heals, ways around it or corners to cut. Grief, is what it is. There is a saying, that ‘time is a healer.’ Time is important. Time doesn’t take it away – at all. Over time, we learn to live with it. Over time, we learn to adjust – to life without. It isn’t the same life, it can’t be, but it is still life. We make changes, adapt. It doesnt go away, but in time death becomes less intense and dark times become less absorbing. Tears fall for moments, not hours. Thoughts gradually incorporate happier times from before. A photo sparks a memory and a memory is shared. Re-living moments from before helps the soul to mend. There was life before and there will be life after.
Grief will not let us go. It is us, who must let go of grief.
We know not how, but with time, it will happen.
Of course, at the end, their are always rainbows and bright lights with hope growing by the day. After grief, there is a future because of course, life does go on, as we know. But only when we are ready.