The thing about grief


Two years ago today we lost our Ina. It really doesn’t feel like that much time has passed since I heard her voice and held her soft, wrinkly cheek against mine. Then again, it feels like an eternity since she last called on a Sunday morning to catch up about the week. Time perception is a weird, weird thing. The anniversary of my granddad’s death is coming up this next month, too and I am already dreading the day. These markers of time always bring on strange feelings and there seem to be more and more of them every year.

Then last week, we found out about the loss of our friend, who was by all means considered ‘too young to die’ and it made me realize how different and yet the same grief can be.

I still miss my great-aunt terribly, but I can rationalize her death with her age. I tell myself that it was time for her to go, that this is the circle of life. We are born and someday we all die. I keep thinking about our friend and how much more life he should have had in him. He was such a positive force, a beacon of light for so many people and I do not understand why he had to go already.

J, who for the first few days was simply devastated, said last Friday that he was feeling a little better. That he was still sad and in disbelief but that he was trying to draw strength from what happened (however one does that), that he’s trying to be thankful for having known him, having spent time with him… just to be hit by another wave of grief like a freight train again a day later. I kept trying to comfort him, to tell him that it gets better. But does it?

The thing about grief is: it doesn’t really go away. It will accompany us – once we’ve been hit by it once (or multiple times) – for the rest of our lives. We will always miss the people who have left us. It will never be ok. It’s the burden we carry as humans as we grow older. Missing people, learning to live without them, carrying on with our lives even though they’ve been forever changed.

Sure, grief changes, too, comes in different forms and intensities. Some days you’re just smiling to yourself, because a memory with someone entered your mind unexpectedly and you’re thankful for the experience that you had together. On other days, you’ll start crying for no apparent reason (but of course you know the reason all too well).

The emotions, they come in waves, but not predictable like high and low tide, but mostly at random and you never really know when the next crushing grief-tsunami will come and roll over you and leave you gasping for air.

Underneath the surface, grief is always there, but we as humans have learned to push it down when it’s inconvenient and in order to function in a fast-paced world. As much as we would like to slow things down, to catch our breaths and try to comprehend, time does not really stop when someone dies and we keep trudging along, trying to keep up and adjust to the new normal.

I know we’re not the only ones struggling with grief today, old or new. I know for sure that there are some of you, if not all of you, out there who can relate in some way and who feel the same pain. Know that you’re not alone, that we’re all in this together, and go hug somebody tight today.

  1. <3 Sending lots and lots of love. And then, more love. <3

  2. You did a really great job of capturing grief It does come in waves. It does appear when you’re not expecting it to.

    Hugs to you both.

  3. I hug you & J today
    Lots of Love ❤️

  4. I know what you are feeling all too well and wishing you the strength to keep on going! Hugs for the both of you xxx

  5. I am sorry you have to grief and miss your Ina and your friend. Lots of hugs to you and J! Stay strong and positive, even if it seems impossible.

    I kind of know how you feel (as you know from my blog), even though the person I miss is still alive. Which sometimes I think is even harder, because even though it is heartbreaking when someone dies, knowing the person you love is somewhere out there, thinking about you but out of reach, is even more heartbreaking I think.

  6. Grief is so hard and it stretches on for so long and can hit us in unexpected moments. The anniversary of a person’s passing is always a tough day for me but then there are those moments throughout the year when you wish you could tell that person about something that is happening or you miss being able to talk to that person when you are going through something difficult. Thinking of you friend, and all the many other people in my life who continue to deal with feelings of grief.

  7. Grief sucks so very much. Sometimes there are not words to explain just how much. As you said, we tend to rationalize death when it is an older person, but with someone younger, it’s always hard to understand why. (And maybe we’re just not supposed to.)

    In my personal experience in dealing with death and grief, it doesn’t go away, but it definitely lessens with time. There’s a part of me that lets go (with time), because if I keep holding on, I’m only hurting myself in the end. Something else happens as well – I remember more so the good and happy memories that I experienced with that person (both my grandmothers, my grandfathers, my aunt, and so many more people I’ve known), rather than dwell on the fact that they are gone.

    It’s so difficult, but time does help.

  8. This is a beautiful picture of grief. Sending you all the love and prayers for comfort. <3

  9. Yes, to all of this. I’m so sorry you and J are going through this friend. Thinking of you xo

  10. ugh grief sucks. I’m sorry for your loss and you’re right about “Time perception is a weird, weird thing. ” So weird how it can both feel like a minute and a lifetime ago that you last saw someone. *sigh* Keep staying strong as your quote says.

  11. Amen. Very well said. It does come and go. I’ve leanened that for me with time it changes to remembering special moments that bring back smiles but you never stop missing them.

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