Grief is something that each one of us will have to experience in our lifetime. Whether it is the loss of a family member, a good friend, or even a pet, the loss of someone we love is a pain that is beyond description. One thing that should be known is everyone experiences grief differently, and the same person can even feel different types of grief. Just because I feel one way about grief, this doesn't mean that everyone else will feel the same way. However, even though we all experience different types of grief, this doesn't mean that we cannot come together to deal with this pain.
The first thing that tends to come from loss is shock. In movies, people always begin crying when they found out a loved one has passed away, but in my experience this is not how it tends to happen. The first feeling is a feeling of confusion- how could someone you have known for so long suddenly be gone? Death, while it is something simple to understand out of context, is extremely tough to wrap our heads around when we are dealing with it personally.
After shock there is a feeling of emptiness. After the acceptance that the person will no longer be in your life sets in, you begin to feel like there is something missing from your life. There might be the urge to call or speak to that person one more time, until you realize that this is no longer possible. I often look through old pictures, watch old videos, and listen to old voicemails from the person who is gone to try to bring back the good memories that I have with them.
During this period of emptiness, it is easy to try to push people away. I always tell myself that it will be easier to not pull others into this, that they simply won't understand what I am going through. However, it is important to know that you are not alone. Despite the hole you feel in your life, there are so many people willing to love and support you through this tough time.
The feeling of sadness often comes third, after realizing that you will never feel the joy of their presence in your life anymore. You wish that you could just have one more phone call, one more piece of advice, one more moment of laughter. Usually this sadness comes after the funeral, once you have some closure that this chapter of your life truly is over. I tend not to cry until after the funeral when someone passes away. I don't know whether it is the fact that I associate funerals with closure, or simply the fact that it takes a few days for me to process everything, but I am usually too in shock to shed a tear until after everything is over.
At first the sadness is intense. Pictures, videos, even songs can trigger unspeakable pain knowing that the person is no longer in your life. Day to day life is more difficult to deal with because you always have your loved one in the back of your mind. Easy tasks such as getting your work done or exercising become increasingly difficult to accomplish. That sadness never really goes away, but, over time it tends to fade. Despite the despair felt in the beginning, you realize that your loved one would have wanted you to be happy and move on from their loss. There will still be things around you that are a constant reminder of their passing, but you begin to learn to turn your despair into something more bittersweet. Your life will be different without them in it, but your love for that person will never fade away. And even though pangs of grief will still encapsulate you from time to time, you are able to associate that person with all of your favorite things about them rather than the fact that they are no longer with you.