People grieve, over many aspects of life. It doesn’t always have to deal with the actual loss (death) of a person. It can be to the loss of friendship, divorce, loss of trust, or the loss of life as we know it through a medical diagnosis or accident. Anything that alters our life can cause us to grieve.
On that note, grieving is not the same for everyone. Yes, we all learn that there are steps to the process and it’s ok to go from one step to the other, then back again, but eventually you’re to get to the acceptance stage and then “BOOM” everything is good. Hate to tell the people who created the process that it isn’t always so, and grief doesn’t ever get tied up with a pretty bow and stuck on a shelf. It is always a part of the person, and it can unexpectedly come crashing in on that person without warning.
Does it get easier, yes. There comes a point that the situation can be talked about without the sharp fresh stab of pain through your heart, or the choking fear doesn’t grip your throat and take your breath away. But there is always the memory, and the pain that can come unexpectedly when you see a person that makes you take a second look because the build reminds you. Or when something happens that you want to share with your best friend that isn’t your best friend anymore because you’ve been torn apart by situations in life that made you lose trust in the person and therefore you’re no longer sharing life experiences. Or you happen to run into the one who left you and their new “person”. When you go home to an empty house. When your body doesn’t function like it used to, you have difficulty walking or you can’t go about life as you knew it even a month ago because you’re body isn’t functioning right.
It may get easier…but it is never easy. The steps to the point where it can be talked about without crying, to the point where the pain isn’t so fresh, are painful in themselves. The questions of “why”. The anger toward God or the people involved in the situation is real. The thoughts of just wanting it all to be over. We must work through it, and sometimes it is a smooth process, but more often than not it’s an ugly process. It hurts. Not only are we having to accept this new life that we have been dealt, we have to also accept the fact that it will never be the same. We have to forgive people that don’t ask for forgiveness. We have to forgive ourselves for things that we had no control over, but that we may blame ourselves for.
I’ve had my share of loss. In the fourth grade I lost an aunt unexpectedly to a car crash. My parents took in her three kids who had lost their mom for awhile until their new life was stable enough. When I was a senior in college (1999) I lost an uncle unexpectedly when he was on his way to a fishing trip in a car crash. I graduated and moved in with his wife and daughter for a summer, until life was stable. In September 2012 I lost both my grandfathers a day apart, one death was expected the other was not. When I graduated in 2013 with my RN my mom bought a “grow animal” that caused tears to flow because my Grandpa Mac wasn’t there to celebrate, though he had supported me through all four years. In January, 2017, I lost an aunt unexpectedly to cancer/infection that we thought was going to be “fine”. I’m still waiting for life to stabilize.
I’ve had other loses of loved ones, but they were expected, it’s the unexpected ones that shake a person to their core. That make going back to nursing school and clinicals and walking by the room that the loved one was in; or going on a Wal-Mart run and seeing items that you had just purchased that cause the burning sensation in your throat and eyes…and tears to seep quietly down your cheeks. There are the other loses of friendships and significant others that make you not trust anyone fully and warp you just enough to make future friendships and relationships suffer. But you work through it and learn how to self preserve. It’s all part of life…part of grieving…part of a process.
The grieving takes time, yet it will always be there. In the corner of your heart that remembers the person or life as it “was before”. Eventually the memories bring joy instead of sharp pain. You’re able to go outside (physically/metaphorically) and your feet keep going one step in front of the other. Life continues. We accept it. We learn to compensate. We process it.
Through it all, without God as a rock to stand on/lean on…the process would be that much harder.
Learning to process…ERM