It’s always there. Grief. Sometimes, you feel the wave coming on; sometimes, it creeps in unexpectedly. You might recognize triggers, and yet, they aren’t always obvious.
My sister visited from Alberta with her daughter recently—their first visit since my father’s passing. My nephew and his partner were here from Alberta as well. The reality that we have been living without him here is not theirs. We have had Christmas, his birthday, and Father’s Day without him. While they grieved his passing their own way, I know that being here and not seeing him is very difficult. They visit his graveside instead of spending time with him. It is a very fresh wound.
I’ve been reflecting on grief and on things I’ve found difficult. My friend and her daughter died in a car accident last fall. Wrapping my head around that idea is challenging. I don’t know if not having time to process the eventuality of their death (like when someone is ill) is better or worse. I still expect to see her. I still expect to see my father and my friends. I have refrained from participating in activities or going places because, at first, the idea seems good, and in my mind, I expect to see these people we’ve lost. When it hits me that they are gone, it is still like a punch in the gut every time.
I want my brain to reconcile this. I almost feel as though there must be something I am missing. I suppose it is our brain’s way of protecting us. If we had to accept all of this loss at once, we might go crazy. There are times when it drags me down. I have not felt like doing anything lately. I can put on a good face and get through what I must, but when I let my guard down, I feel like a zombie. I want to turn off my brain. I want to hide and be alone.
I know these feelings are temporary. At least the most intense emotions. It’s been a little over a week since I’ve been able to find peace. I have some good techniques, including writing and meditation. It seems there are times when my brain wants to live with the raw feelings for a while. I’m hoping that writing this will steer me towards better practices. Instead of wishing them away, I want to honour these sad feelings. It isn’t a pity party, but I think days like these are good and necessary.
It feels good to write these words and to share them with you. If you are struggling, listen to your heart. Honour those feelings and be gentle with yourself. If you need help, reach out. Society tells us to “smile” and “put on a happy face.” We all do what we must, and finding ways to function amidst feelings of grief is necessary. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be sad. You don’t have to “smile” every day. I recognize your pain and the strength you have to carry on. I hope you find reasons to smile and that there is grace for you today and all the days.
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