What grief can teach you about life

I don’t like to brag. And this certainly isn’t a brag- worthy title but I’m pretty much a connoisseur at grief and loss of loved ones.

I have experienced death and loss throughout my life starting at age 9 with my grandfather. My Pop played a vital role in raising me and caring for me on a daily basis prior to his death.

Age 20- Brian-my stepfather – who left my mother and 4 year old brother reeling.

Age 22- my favorite uncle- Joe. He was my confidante, my cheerleader, my friend.

Age 35- my 20 year old brother- Travis – my first baby. He never even got to really blossom into his potential.

Age 38- my mother- Barbara- does this even need further qualification? My mother…..

Experiencing this many unique versions of family members’ deaths teaches you quite a bit about sitting in your own emotional discomfort. Living in grief teaches you to survive and function with a veil shrouding you, an invisible weight you always carry, a smile that doesn’t quite reach your eyes.

Active grieving teaches you about existing in a culture where an acceptable time frame, set of behaviors and responses are deemed appropriate and healthy and normal and you are abnormal if you do not fit into that framework.

You live in a world where people feel either they should ignore your recent loss or smother you in disgusting cliches and platitudes.

You learn to scream silently, internally while wearing a placid mask for a face instead of throat punching someone who tells you they understand just how you feel because their dog just died.

You become comfortable managing isolation and the feeling that you have someone else’s skin on.

Hopefully, you also learn that some people will surprise you by holding space, connecting and allowing you to just be. These people will feed and nurture your soul back to life.

You will feel overwhelmed by kindness and love that others surround you in- people you would never even expect to.

You are truly able to connect and support and empathize with others experiencing grief and loss.

You stop judging people.

You forgive.

You love harder.

You grow into your new skin and recognize your own growth.

You laugh at yourself and realize life isn’t so serious.

You give less fucks and have a good, no a fucking great time.

These are some of the things that I have learned. Do you have any to add?

Melissa

4 thoughts on “What grief can teach you about life

  1. Beautifully written! Keep writing and shine on. I’ve also learned that grief is a wild ride and sometimes the most random events can be triggering.

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  2. I love you. I loved you 30 plus years ago and I love you more now!

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  3. Thank you for your beautiful words. Please continue with your writings. Grief can be for me numbing, sometimes I can’t feel anything. I’ve screamed I can’t take any more loss & then it happens again. I have found for myself, as I’ve experienced more & more losses, it’s not easier, the hole gets bigger in my heart. But, I’m working on filling that hole by being patient with myself, trying not to wear those masks for others benefits. To be closer to those who support and inspire. I can certainly feel fragmented and lost but hopefully not as often. I don’t take anything for granite anymore, “things” aren’t as important. I notice Sunsets and sunrises more and really take them in. Trying hard to have more compassion with myself. Really appreciate and love a good hearty laugh, the pee your pants, sides hurt and tears kind of laughter. Yes, forgiveness, it’s more important for me than the person I’m forgiving, working on that. Thank you Melissa

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