I recently passed the two-year marker date of Peter’s death, and looked back at my blogs which reflect my roller-coaster-of-a-journey through grief. My writing chronicles the ups and downs (unfortunately more downs that ups), and the slow healing process towards my new life of plausible acceptability. Grief is a long and arduous process. Grief is also a teacher, who has imparted some pearls of wisdom to me, along the trek I am making through its challenging path. Here are some of the things I have learned from my teacher grief:
· Grief is not a four-letter word. It’s a normal response to loss.
· Death doesn’t just happen to other people. Grief is an equal opportunity offender.
· Every death is sudden.
· Grief teaches you that time doesn’t heal all wounds. It is what you do with time that heals.
· Do not be afraid to ask for all the support you can muster in grief. You will need it. Sharing your hurt lessens the pain.
· Grief is not a problem to be solved. Grief is a feeling that must be felt.
· Grief is not a 12-Step Recovery program. You don’t recover from grief, you adapt.
· You cannot postpone grief. If you do, it will bite you where the sun don’t shine.
· Crying immense and copious tears is important in grief. Not great on the mascara, but good for the soul.
· There is no expiration date or shelf-life on grief. It lasts longer than a Twinkie.
· It is more than okay to laugh while you are grieving.
· In grief you lose your status, your identity, and your trust. But with self-compassion, you can rebuild trust and identity. Status takes a bit more perseverance and a lot of understanding friends.
· Normal and grief should not be used together in the same sentence.
· Grief will change your inner circle of friends. You are not the same person. Your grief and healing process will bring you closer to some people and distance you from others.
· You will NEVER be the same person after your loss.
· You will grieve your past, present, and future with your loved one.
· Life’s milestones will always be tinged with bitter and then hopefully, bittersweet emotions.
· Grief gives you the power to say no, and take care of your needs and desires.
· Exercise is key to getting through the pain of grief.
· Ask for all the hugs you need. Hugs are mandatory!
· Grief teaches you that you are stronger than you ever envisioned.
· Grief is the new taboo. People feel weird talking about grief. If you open up, they will open up.
· Grief doesn’t come in five neat stages. Grief is unbelievably tough and very messy!
· The pain of grief is universal but your journey is unique. Grief teaches you not to judge others in their grief and be more compassionate.
· Grief confirms that life sucks sometimes.
· Grief informs you that no matter how much time you had together, you always want more.
· Grief instructs you that you are not in control in your journey of grief. Grieving helps you to find control again.
· The marker date of the death of your loved one, is not an anniversary. It is another hurdle to go through and check off the list on your journey through grief.
· Your attitude is key in grief. It takes a while to get to the point where you can invest in the process fully, which is a requirement towards your restoration.
· Grief teaches you to be authentic.
· Grief teaches you to bend flexibly into the pain so you don’t break.
· Grief shows the way toward self-compassion.
· Grief show you that you can use your pain to do some good. Being compassionate with others makes you feel better.
· You will never stop grieving your loss. By allowing the grief process to continue, you honor your loved one which is healing by default.
· Knowing that there is life after grief, keeps you going.
· It does get better.