Grief is one of those things that everyone experiences but that few people really understand. It’s kind of like a Kardashian sister: always in the background, never fully explained, and somehow always getting brought up at family gatherings. But what is grief, really? And why does it make us feel so terrible (aside from the obvious reasons)? Let’s dive in and try to figure out exactly what we’re dealing with here.
At its core, grief is essentially just deep sadness over something or someone you’ve lost. This could be anything from a loved one dying to your favorite lip balm being discontinued (RIP Burt’s Bees Pomegranate). Whatever the cause may be, though, grief tends to bring about some pretty intense emotions: sadness, anger, confusion, frustration…you name it.
One thing that makes grief especially tricky is that there isn’t really a set timeline for how long it should last. Some people might start feeling better after a few weeks or months; others might take years to fully process their feelings (or they’ll simply bottle them up until they explode at an innocent passerby like an emotional landmine).
Whatever your personal experience may be like, though,it’s important to remember that grieving is normal and healthy—not something you can just “get over” quickly.
The Many Faces of Grief
Just as we all experience love differently depending on who we are and who we’re loving (except for cats: they only know how to show affection by sitting on our keyboards while we work), so too do our individual personalities come into play when dealing with loss.
Some people might cry openly and frequently; others might prefer more private displays of emotion. Some folks may want nothing more than quiet solitude during their grieving process; others will turn toward community support groups or other forms of comfort.
And then there are those of us who deal with grief by eating our feelings. Hey, don’t judge—it might not be the healthiest coping mechanism,but if stuffing my face with a carton of ice cream while binging The Office gets me through a tough time, then so be it.
The Stages (or Not)
One of the most common theories people have heard about grieving is that there are five “stages” to it: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance (sounds like the ingredients for a bad hangover). However,this theory has been pretty widely debunked over the years, as research has shown that everyone’s experience with grief is unique and can’t necessarily boil down to such a neat little checklist.
That being said,it can still be helpful to think in terms of phases or themes when going through your own mourning process. Maybe you start off feeling numb and disconnected from reality; maybe later on you feel angry or frustrated that this thing happened at all; maybe you eventually find some sense of closure or peace—but all these things don’t have clear-cut boundaries between each other, instead they overlap one another sometimes making it seem chaotic.
Dealing with grief often involves developing coping mechanisms—i.e., healthy habits and routines we use to keep ourselves grounded during difficult times. There’s no right or wrong way to cope as long as it doesn’t involve harming oneself physically in any way! We’ve got enough problems without adding self-injury into the mix.
Some examples of good coping strategies include:
- Practicing mindfulness/meditation
- Engaging in physical activity
- Spending time outdoors
- Getting involved in creative pursuits (writing poetry/songs/blog posts)
- Crying (soothing yet salty tears)
And again—inclusion of copious amounts food cannot go unmentioned here either.
Moving on from loss can be a challenging process, but it’s also one of the most important parts of healing. But what does “moving on” really mean, anyway? Does it involve forgetting about the person/thing you lost? Letting go completely?
The truth is that moving on doesn’t necessarily equate to forgetting or even entirely letting go. Rather,it involves finding ways to carry your grief forward with you—acknowledging its impact on your life while still making room for new experiences and joys alongside it.
One way many people choose to honor their grief after a loved one passes away is by creating some sort of memorial or tribute—whether that’s keeping their ashes in an urn at home (yours truly would prefer a giant personalized bobblehead statue made in my likeness though), creating something artistic in their memory (such as songwriting, painting etc.), or simply carving out time each year to remember them.
Grief is just another part of the human experience (!) More often than not we try find commonality within each other through our pain and this makes us band together like soldiers heading into battle against emotional wounds. There are very few guaranteed solutions when it comes down dealing with sorrow, loss meandering thoughts; there’s no checklist to follow, no secret cure waiting patiently for you (that being said isn’t excessive amounts wine meant for helping with coping mechanisms?)
But rest assured—you aren’t alone! We all feel real sadness sometimes (even though some people will argue over who has had ‘the worst week ever’) Take things moment by moment if needed until those moments turns into hours then days and so forth & keep reminding yourself—it isn’t about how long grieves lasts,it’s more essential acknowledging that its okay not having everything figured out as long you know how stand back up every time when thrown off course.
Alas stay safe everyone ! May tragedies forever evade us and let us be able to cope with life’s downfalls that come our way.