To be tightly wound up in grief is not a good way to walk around on a consistent basis. But it seems it’s good for society~ for your coworkers, friends, acquaintances, family, and strangers alike. We, the ones going through grief, have to keep it together when we are around others. Society wants to see stoicism, pride, and a measure of control out of us. They are looking at you to show them that losing someone to death can be handled and managed, compartmentalized and tucked away for private moments of contemplative weepiness. We feel the unspoken pressure and comply for everyone, including ourselves. An outward display of overwhelming grief is scary to behold and very disconcerting and uncomfortable for others and ourselves to witness. It seems a common value we have placed on ourselves to suffer the real emotions of grief in private. And by private I mean~ totally by ourselves. Even our core families are often uncomfortable seeing an unraveling of grief and pain. People don’t want to see the raw truth because grief is an inevitability for all of us that is better put off for another time. To talk about the true day-to-day of what I experienced and witnessed during those last few weeks is undignified and not in keeping with what societal expectations are. Everyone wants a sanitized, sleepy version of what its like to see someone you love die, like in the movies. The hand grip, the closing of the eyes, and the sweet last staggered breath, the last kiss on the cheek. That is what people want to envision for themselves. And through love, they want to believe that’s what happened to you… Many, many times this is not the case. And it wasn’t mine.
But the truth is at some point~ the unraveling for the grief-stricken will happen. And sometimes it is multiple times. The first inclination and instinct many have is to stand back, to turn away, or close your eyes and cover your ears. The flashbacks, the scenery, the smells and sights and sounds of your surroundings, all of it will make its way to the top and bubble over in our minds. How could it not?? I am a part of closed grief groups online. Many talk privately about wanting to die. Wanting it to be over. And some sadly find a way to make that happen. There is an underlying aspect to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and I know it is often a part of grief that no one is seeing or talking about. There needs to be an outlet. An understanding. A way to go through these feelings, this experience, and project it out of our bodies and minds all that we witnessed and experienced and to let it go into the universe for transmutation and diffusion. Reliving it doesn’t help, getting it out of us- does. Keeping this inside ourselves is the most unhealthy thing we can do, but it is also the expectation and sadly and oftentimes the advice that is placed on us by society, our families and friends and coworkers, and ourselves. We must find ways to emit this powerful destructive energy out of our minds and bodies to regain emotional and physical health.
The crucial part of this is to allow one who has suffered loss to grieve at their own pace, at their own volume, and not under anyone else’s timeline or expectation. If you really love them, show patience and ride the waves with them. This level of pain cannot be sustained and it often flows in waves, many times for years. God only gives you what you can handle and waves seem to be a natural form of release, just like the tides of the ocean. You must accept this in order to be fully vested in understanding and support of this person who is suffering. Do not tire of it, do not try and fix it, do not tell them to move on and get over it and suck it up. If they are living, eating, working, and communicating with you they are already crossing over hurdles you haven’t experienced yet perhaps.
One of the ways I let this energy out is through scream therapy. If I were to allow others to hear me they might call the police or an ambulance. Yes~ it’s that powerful. I get in my car and drive somewhere where I know I wont be heard and I let out the most god-awful scream I can muster. I am hoarse for days afterward sometimes. But I can feel this energy leave with the sound and vibration in my throat and it is cathartic, powerful, relieving, and forgiving. And afterward I feel at peace and can move through my day without shell-shocking others. I’m not really advocating public meltdowns, but I am trying to help people connect and understand each other through this process. This journal is for those that need to unravel. And for those that need to understand the unraveling. And to accept this, honor it, and heal, and to form lasting bonds with those that choose to stay. One day when this happens to you, you will have someone who knows and understands be there for you too!
This journal is for my parents. Thank you so much for your undying love, support, and patience for me these last years.