In this blog I’m going to be talking about grief. I know a few people will be wondering why I’m talking about this but for me I think the feelings of loss are the closest most people will get to depression without actually suffering from it, such is the intensity and depth of the feelings you experience.
Grief is universal and it happens to us all for so many different reasons. We all approach it in different ways to each other, some feel it harder than others. For some it has to be dealt with by confronting it all in a practical manner, others need to let go in a flood of emotions. It’s not just for someome passing away, grief can be for so many different things.
Let’s look at what grief is first of all. Grief is the sadness we feel when we lose something or someone. Of course it’s normally associated with the passing of a loved one, but it can be the break up of a relationship, losing your job, having to leave home.
The way I think of it is that grief is almost a selfish reaction on our part, and I don’t mean that in a negative or dismissive way. As people we’re creatures of habit, we don’t necessarily like change, especially when it’s irreconcilable. The selfish part us doesn’t want that relationship with whatever we’re losing to change. But, unfortunately, it has to.
Losing someone is one of the most heartbreaking things we can go through, especially when it happens suddenly. We’re left with so many unanswered and unanswerable questions that we will never get answers to. We can’t have that connection with them anymore, no matter how much we want it. All we have are memories, good and bad, and we suddenly find ourselves having to process them. It can be a lot of negative emotions – sadness, anger, hurt, longing. But there are also good feelings too. You can feel joy about the memories you have, relief that the person is no longer suffering, a grateful sense that you were able to experience things with them.
Our life is built on our memories of who we are and what we have with others. This is not a bad thing, it is how we base who we are. When you have the ability to make these removed you have every reason to be sad or even angry. Like I say, that’s because deep down, selfishly, we want these things to continue. That’s human nature. To deny this means to deny certain aspects of ourselves. We need to form these emotional bonds and we have every reason to react when these bonds are broken.
Also, look at the outpouring of sadness when a public figure passes away. When David Bowie succumbed to his fight with cancer earlier this year there was a massive public wave of grief that washed over the entire world. Thousands of people were moved to expressing what Bowie had meant to them. Most of these people had never met him but a bond had been formed through his music and what our meant to them. It didn’t mean that their grief was any less valid. The connection to him had been taken away from them, they had lost a confidant, someone who spoke to them.
Never let anyone tell you that you can’t be sad over loss. It’s okay to be upset. Crying is a way of letting pent up emotions out of us in a healthy manner. To keep them buried away inside of ourselves, festering away, is an unhealthy way to exist. If you’re going to do that you may as well detach yourself from feeling emotions and forming relationships with anything.
There’s no time limit to grief either. It takes us all various different lengths of time to process and deal with our grief. Sometimes the grief can take its time to manifest. We’re not all the same, some of us handle things better and quicker than others. The best way to help someone is to let them know you’re there for them. Don’t rush them, let them resolve this at their own pace. Just reassure them that you’re there. Time doesn’t necessarily make the pain or the hurt any less. It just makes it a little easier to bear.
Take a few deep breaths to steady yourself. Enjoy your memories. Cry if you feel the need to. Don’t feel guilty over what you feel. Let the anger, the negativity and the frustration out. Let the warmth of your memories in to fill the void, they might sting a bit but they will help in the long run.