I have wanted to write about grief for a while now about the effects it has on us. But I kept avoiding the topic because grief can be unpredictable, and for someone with complex PTSD, it could be triggering. Especially around the holidays. So I am writing this with my husband on the other side of the couch and my giant german shepherd keeping my feet warm, reminding me to stay grounded. And I feel like it’s time to talk about it.
So what is Grief? Grief is this unmeasurable sense of loss, sorrow, and sadness. It transcends culture, religion, race, or even human beings. Animals experience grief as much as we do.
Personally, I believe Grief exists on a spectrum. WHY? We all grieve differently for different things because, as humans, it is not a one size fits all. We grieve for the death of a loved one, a pet, a broken heart, or ourselves. I have had three pivotal moments of grief that have been impactful in my life.
My father passed away when I was 16 in high school. I was living in the US at the time, and he had been diagnosed, battled, and passed away from cancer in less than 7 months of my relocation to the United States. Media in their depiction of immigrants does not fully understand or do a deep dive the difficulties immigrants face daily, illegal or legal. We had spent money to have my brother, and I moved here, so we could not legally or financially afford to fly back home to bury our father. This was the reality of a 16-year-old girl acclimating to a new world, a new culture. I was a lost teenager in a different world, and I lost my father, the most important man in my life, all in under a year. Something in me broke, and I have never been the same.
Psychologists always preach that children should not become involved or be aware of adult issues, impacting their development. When they did that research study, they should have included immigrant children, where we do not have the luxury NOT TO BE AWARE. Death was my first introduction to grief and sorrow, but I learned the power of resilience and strength.
My Second experience with grief was broken heart. I loved a boy more than I loved myself for many years for almost 7 years. We grew up together experienced many firsts together. At some point in growing up, our paths started to divert into different directions. I like to think of myself as the bigger person solely on the fact that I packed up my stuff and moved to another state in a week. I’m sure he would disagree with our story if you asked him. My dear friend grief wrapped me in his arms of sorrow for my broken heart, and I wallowed; this reiterates my position on how and why grief I think is on a spectrum. Unlike the death of my father, which I had no control over. In this relationship, I consciously choose to be in and out of it for so many years. I chose to stay when I shouldn’t have. He chose to stay when he shouldn’t have. So grieving the finality of this relationship was soul-crushing. I took that grief, and I partied my ASS off. We all grieve differently. But I noticed a theme in my sorrow. Another friend showed up resilience and strength. Eventually, I had to confront this grief as best as possible as a young 20 something year old. I soldiered on.
My third and current grief is who I was as a healthy person 3-4 years ago. When I received my health condition diagnosis, I was elated okay, so what’s the cure? Well, there is no cure. There is just management. OOOOF, okay, resilience and strength kicked into overdrive. We can do this! We managed for a few months till my body responded with a big fat NO! I fought so hard not to accept this new reality, and when I did, I had to let this old version of me go. She could not exist or survive, and I had to let her go. Grieving for yourself is different. Why? Because one your not dead, two, it is not two different people parting ways in a romantic relationship. It’s saying, hey old self who could kickbox; run miles go to work and be social, go to sleep, wake up and do that again was gone. So I grieved for myself, and when I was ready, I called resilience and strength to help a girl out. We are still not done grieving, but we are trying to make it less all-consuming.
Grief, sorrow, heartache fades over time. I do not believe in the concept of “healing ” These emotions. I believe they exist somewhere in our energy, and sometimes they resurface, and you have to process them all over again.
But never forget that in the thick of your sorrow or grief. Resilence, strength, and faith will get you through.
So here’s to grieving our old selves but knowing we will come out stronger on the other side