When you lose someone close to you those first moments are a blur. It’s as if each breath is a struggle with the gravity of your loss crushing down onto you. You quickly cycle between indescribable pain and a shocking stillness as your body and mind must intermittently shut down in an act of self-preservation. You can’t imagine anything beyond the next wave of pain and cannot see past this foggy alternate reality.
As the days pass some of the fog lifts and reveals the pain of what might have been and what will never be. Each discovery brings a new layer of grief that transports you into a mix of emotions you’ve never experienced before. You may find yourself inconsolable one moment and laughing hysterically the next. You cycle between every extreme you’ve ever encountered, only finding periods of rest in the strangest emotion place of all: the place of nothing.
This place of feeling numb and emotionless allows you to momentarily breathe. And with it comes questions and worry. You have been given a brief intermission and allowed a high-level view of your situation. What you see may not be pretty, easy or even understandable.
Should I be crying more? Am I supposed to cry this much? How could I have found that funny? Will I ever smile again? What am I supposed to do now? Will I ever feel normal again?
You question your sanity because you feel as if you are losing your mind. You can’t relate to yourself, let alone another human being, and your new emotions feel foreign and entirely not you. I’ve come to learn that this feeling of not being normal is in fact normal. You’re not crazy, you’re grieving.
Grief is a complicated process that cruelly becomes more difficult about the time when everyone else moves on. The support is strong in the beginning, and then life continues. People forget and move on. But those of us on this path can never forget. Your world has been changed. That initial outside crushing force settles inside of you, attaching itself to your soul. The pain changes with time because it becomes a part of you. You no longer see things in the same light and your perspective changes in ways you never imagined.
Things that used to matter so much are no longer worth a second glance. You see what is real and true in life…and it’s scary. You don’t respond to things in the same way and your energy is split between the living and dead. One moment you are fine, the next you are breaking down. Triggers sneak up on you and instantly transplant you back into the early stages of grief. A song brings you to your knees. You suddenly noticed tears streaming down your face as you do laundry. Even when you aren’t ‘thinking about it’, you are indeed thinking about it. Your life is split into the periods of ‘before’ and ‘after’.
This transformation is painful and messy. You need to be kind to yourself. You have to find your tribe and allow your tears to fall. You have to remember that you are exactly where you are supposed to be. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. There is no right amount of tears or a single stage of pain. Your journey is as unique as your relationship was with your loved one. This pain is your love shifting from current to eternal. It’s a path that will make you feel the gamut of human emotion, but what a blessing it is to love so deeply.