Grief and All Her Faces

Grief is a funny thing, it kind of sneaks up on you and all of a sudden it’s there, like a slap in the face. Reminding you that life will never be what it was. Before, they left the world, before the cold grasp of death reached them. Loss is loss, but until you’ve experienced it for what it is; there’s no way to describe it nor is there a way to comfort those who are facing it.

Losing someone is always difficult, whether it’s a parent or grandparent, a sibling or another close family member, a friend or an acquaintance. Death is something everybody will face one day, some of us much sooner than others. I count myself lucky that until I was 15, I never encountered death up close. It was after the passing of my grandfather that I started to come to terms with what loss was. Yet even then, I couldn’t fathom the magnitude of loss and grief until I lost my mother.

In the year since my mother’s passing, my grief has truly been an ocean. I’ve choked and gasped for air under the gigantic waves of grief and I’ve floated along peacefully in the shallow waters of sadness; but it is grief all the same. Grief is, the smell of brownies cooking in the oven but knowing they’re not the ones that mum always made. Grief is coming home to an empty house on your lunch break to eat a sandwich alone instead of with someone. Grief is visiting places you have many memories but feeling sad instead of happy every time you’re there. Grief is meeting someone you once knew well on the street and waiting awkwardly for them to say “I’m sorry about your mother”, and then saying, “it’s okay, really it’s fine” because you’d rather say it’s okay than acknowledge the gaping hole in your chest that appeared when she left. Because while grief may be a collection of emotions, it’s also the face you put on to hide the thoughts running at 100mph in your brain.

I don’t remember what a life without grief looks like now, there will always be a part of me that aches for the before of my after. A part of me that aches for the innocence of my youth, something we so easily take for granted. Grief is all the love we have in our hearts but it’s all the love we cannot give. The love I have for my mother runs through my veins and my heart but it has nowhere to go, so it comes out in sadness and anger, but it also comes out in laughter and joy too. In memories I have with her and of her, but then the anger comes creeping back in. I’m still learning to grieve without anger, I’m still learning to live without fear of the future. I’m still learning how to be positive when everything inside me wants to be negative, because I lost the light of my life and my sunshine and that’s just not fair.

Grief will always be a part of my life. There will never be a time in my life where I don’t grieve for my losses, but the thing about grief is that we have to face it and adjust, we gain new perspective and we continue forward. We never actually get through to the other side, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel but grief still tags along for the ride. So i’ll keep writing, for as long as there is grief in my heart, there is something to share.

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