You know what I have learned from loss? It is painful, almost unbearable, yes. But, the pain you feel, it reminds you you’re alive. You are still here. When the pain subsides, you are reminded that moving forward is the only way onward. Channel what you feel, all of that energy into something positive.
Everyone handles grief in different ways. For some people, the loss punches them in the gut almost immediately. For others, it takes months, maybe even years for them to fully come around to accepting a loss.
My family has suffered many losses-some we may never recover from. We may never heal fully, but we learn to live with the pain. But, what I’ve come to find is through this pain, this loss, we always come together as family. Despite our differences we may have had with certain people, we throw that away, and come together to grieve a loss.
Years pass and we all have our own lives to live. It sounds selfish, but it is the truth. Sometimes we forget to look at those next to us and acknowledge how much pain they are in. We get caught up in the hustle and bustle of our routines. We have bills to pay, children to raise, responsibilities that require much of our attention. When we are struck with a loss of a loved one, we quickly realize how quickly time moves, and how we should pick up the phone more often. A simple, “Hey, how have you been? I miss you,” can go a long way.
Denial: first stage of grief. Sometimes we struggle to accept that a loved one is no longer here. It does not feel real. You feel as though that person will walk into the room, or call you on the phone, or say your name once more. When you begin to realize this is not the case, the anger sets in.
Anger: the second stage of the grieving process, and the most common. We are overcome with these questions of, “Why? Why did this happen?” We question how we can move forward with the aches we carry in our bones, the emptiness in our chest. Certain losses take chunks out of our hearts, almost making it impossible to breathe. How can our hearts continue to beat when this pain, this pain has taken so much from us?
Bargaining: we begin to wish and pray that if we change something, it will spare us from dealing with this loss. We beg and plead even.
Depression knocks at our door. It begins to seep in. Our hearts are heavy. Our legs barely carry us forward. Everything around us seems mundane. There is no reason to get out of bed. Sleep becomes our friend. This loss was so severe, we have nothing more to lose.
Acceptance: the step which takes the longest to overcome. Do we ever truly learn to accept the loss or we do just learn to live with this pain? We search for coping mechanisms, anything to take the pain away. We may never learn to accept the loss, but as time goes on, we find ourselves feeling less pain. The days blend together and we begin to realize life will go on.
I know this sounds cliché and I would not be telling the truth if I said I’m an expert at this, but take that pain and channel it into something that takes your mind off of it. I have found that hitting the gym and fostering my energy there really helps. Writing helps. Walking, music, laughing, being around loved ones. I think these are little wins. You find yourself laughing more, surrounded by love and overcome by a sense peace, the pain slowly but surely begins to subside. The pain is still there, don’t get me wrong. But we learn to live with it. It is a passenger, but no longer driving the train. We are leading the way now. They no longer control us.
We may look at our brokenness as a defect. It is not. Through our broken pieces, we can rebuild, something entirely different. Someone stronger. Someone more resilient. Where we are broken, we can let the light seep in. Although pain is unbearable, loss is something almost impossible to recover from, there is beauty in the world if we take the time to see it.
And to my pain I say this, you are here. You are present. You used to control me. No more. I control you. You may be a passenger onboard, but you are not driving anymore. I am. You can stay a while as a reminder of how far I’ve come. How I’ve endured so much loss, but I still move forward.
I am resilient.
My heart is still beating.
I am here.
I am present.