A few words for those who continue to struggle with longer term grief, losing someone important, and trying to deal with that.
Hello, and a very warm welcome to the spot on the site where we chat about mental health, wellbeing, and, well, stuff. It’s a quiet space to natter about things and we do it weekly. Not every article we run is going to be of use to everyone, we’re well aware of that. But hopefully there’s something we run over this series that might be of help to you.
This week, a few words about longer term grieving. Not least that because of the time of writing, there’s been a national funeral and that’s reawakened amongst many the feeling of loss.
Grief is an odd thing. Until you fully go through it, the general perception is that when you lose someone close, there’s a month or two of dealing with everything, a funeral, and then on you go. Everything is back to some kind of normal.
For me, most recently, that’s sort of what happened. Only the sting in the tale was just what that normal was. That there’s an assumption of grief going in a straight line and gradually easing, yet that wasn’t quite how my ‘normal’ panned out. Things to a degree did begin to ease, and then out of nowhere, something would bring me crashing back down. It felt like several steps one way, and then several steps back. Couldn’t predict it, had no idea when I’d find myself having to go off for a cry. In truth, still can’t.
Grief, as virtually all of you reading this will know, is no short term thing (the brilliant support group Cruse, after all, describes itself as there no matter how long someone has been grieving). The hope – and I’ve found this – is that someone lost to you will generate more smiles than tears as the years go by. But the tears are still there, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with them never going away.
It also doesn’t fit into a comfortable box, or a comfortable period of time. That, or if it is squirrelled away, it has a habit of coming back and biting you. It’s a horrible and difficult part of being a human being, but it is part of being a human being. One of the hardest things many of us ever have to deal with. And I think it’s better to be open and acknowledge that it can and does hurt for a long time, then pretend we’re all superheroes who can bash it away.
Grief is not a straight line. It doesn’t play by a particular set of rules. It’s different for each of us. And it’s best, I’d suggest, that society didn’t pretend otherwise.
Thanks, as always, for reading. This column will return next week.
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