The Complexities of Grief
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Health and Wellness

The Complexities of Grief

Grief was something we never talked about until it happened.

The Complexities of Grief
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This semester, I took on a project that centered on some aspect of trauma -- the aspect I chose? Grief. Originally, I did it to see what my family's take on the death of my Papa was, and how they were coping with their grief. However, I found this project greatly affecting me more in comparison because of all the memories that were told. They made me yearn for, at the very least, one more hug from my Papa.

My Papa was a great man. He and my dad, I firmly believe, are the greatest men you could ever meet. My Papa was a hero in probably all of my family's eyes. He was the most giving, kind, funny, and loving person in our lives. The common theme I got when I asked my family to describe Papa was he was a leader, a hard worker, someone everyone wanted to be around, the embodiment of unconditional love, and the person who pushed us to be the best people we could be. This man saw the best in every single person he met. He saw our potential and none of our flaws. This man meant so much to everyone around him for a reason. He lit up every room he walked into and people would always gravitate towards him. He could make anyone laugh. One of the best parts, undoubtedly the thing everyone misses the most was his laugh. It was so contagious. When I asked my parents their favorite memories with him, they involved near-death experiences and Papa giggling uncontrollably. He was a great man, a noble man, which understandably brings us so much heartache and grief now that he is gone.

Grief is a hard subject to tackle. Most people would say they know what grief is but at the end of the day, do we really? I knew of grief but I was nowhere near prepared to experience it. It was something that seemed so ambiguous until it happened. It was out there but it seemed like it was so far away that I never needed to worry about it. My Papa was my first true encounter with grief. It was such a sudden encounter that understandably, it caught me off-guard and I did not know how to cope. I never pictured it happening to me, in theory, but I knew it was inevitable and I assumed I would have time to prepare. I have never been more wrong about anything.

Instead of facing grief head-on I ended up avoiding it. I pushed it under the rug. I pretended that I was okay but in reality, I was making myself busy so I didn't have to think about my grief. Whenever my brain rested long enough for the grief to crawl out of my subconscious, the multitude of emotions overwhelmed me. I could not deal with it. It started to make me have panic attacks and developed abandonment issues. Eventually, I realized that I needed professional help this semester. I started to go to a counselor to talk about my grief and while I was attending sessions, I was researching grief for this project. As I was researching, I realized that my grief was more complex than I thought. I started to see that my grief aligns itself with traumatic grief. Traumatic grief is when the loss of a loved one is, in summary, sudden and overwhelming. Traumatic grief has all the same factors as normal grief but it can cause sleep impairment, panic attacks, excessive avoidance of anything that reminds the person of the loss, and detachment from people and things. I have now been able to find the signs and seek help.

Grief is something that is typically not talked about in our generation until it happens. We all need to be aware of grief, understand what it is, and prepare ourselves for the horrible yet inevitable day it lurks into our lives. We also need to know of the signs of traumatic grief so we can help ourselves or someone else who may be experiencing it. Remember that you can take as little or as much time as you need to grieve a loved one. No one can tell you you are wrong for grieving longer, shorter, or differently than someone else. However, reach out when it gets to be too much to handle on your own.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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