“If you are not obsessed with your life...Change it.” ~Skye Vonn
Feel and Release
Stages of Grief
Honoring Your Loved One
13. Grieving is a lonely enough process to begin with, but for people in their 20s and 30s, whose friends may never have experienced the death of anyone close to them, it can be thoroughly isolating. "When you lose someone so young, you really have to know someone else is out there moving through the same thing," says Soffer. "I needed to know from people who had been through the wringer and were still going through the wringer that it really could be OK."
I remember staring out the window into the darkness and wondering if life would ever be the same again and if I would ever find happiness. At that moment, I felt like I was at the bottom of a very dark hole and I could see no way out. I’d never felt anything like this in my life before.
I was completely overcome with the thought of returning to normality and wondered how I could cope. I remember typing a text message to my boss to say I wouldn’t be returning to work the next day but with some much-needed encouragement I got up the next day and returned to my office. It was awful.
What’s important to keep in mind is that the stages of grief are unique to everyone, they are felt and experienced at a profoundly personal level, and everyone’s process will take a different amount of time.
We use the grieving process to weave the story of our traumatic loss back into the fabric of the narrative of our lives. It’s natural. Our natural reaction is to ruminate on our loss, or the event, or the slight, or whatever causes us grief, and the pain that we feel because of it, in effort to try and make it make sense.
We like things to make sense, but if our narrative is so disturbed, things no longer make sense in the same way. How can we possibly make things make sense in the midst of struggling with a traumatic loss? We can rewrite the narrative.
The act of simply writing, or typing, allows us to find an avenue of thought surrounding the story of the traumatic event that will make sense and tie it back into the scheme of the larger narrative of our lives. It’s also extremely helpful to engage socially with other people in our community who can help us to make sense of the loss, even if our natural inclination is to be alone and feel miserable.
If we keep our grief internalized and hide it from the rest of our community, that grief will be dragged out longer. Your best option: get it out. Whether you write it out, talk it out, laugh it out, run it out or do something else, you have to get it out in order to let it go.
Give yourself permission to feel something other than sorrow over the loss in your grief. Positive experiences, moments of humor or enjoyment of good company can help to break the cycle of the record skipping back over the painful memories that leave us wallowing in grief.
Historically we've had religious or cultural traditions, like funerals, that connect grieving individuals with their communities in their time of need. Always remember that nobody is an island and you are not alone, even if you may want to be.
Rising Through Grief