When my mother passed away I experienced a rush of adrenaline with everything that needed to be done. Saying goodbye, literally and emotionally. Dealing with hospital administrators. Funeral arrangements. Not to mention everything that needed to be done during the final weeks before her death.
After she passed away I was high on adrenaline and in shock. I was desensitized from the magnitude of what had happened.
In the months to come there were tears every day. Driving in the car was synonymous with crying. I couldn’t see pictures of her or have conversations about her.
After the long absence from work I'd taken while caring for her in her dying days and then dealing with her death, I felt rushed back to work, as if I had to pull it all together and function like nothing had happened. This seems to be a common experience. How many days of absence do employers give us for the loss of a loved one?
I'd never lost someone so important in my life, so I had never really experienced grief before. It has been an intense, eye-opening journey. And you don’t really know yourself and the depth of your humanity until you've lost someone you love.
Losing someone you love opens a new door in your heart, the door of unconditional love. It reaffirms that love goes beyond physical forms. But it takes time for that affirmation to dawn.
In the meantime, there are times when grief impairs your mind.
Trying to soothe my grief, I made bad decisions in the heat of the moment, as if by making external changes I might lessen the deep pain in my heart from losing my mom. I learned from my mistakes. And I learned that grief takes time. Lots of time.
I learned that not everyone is comfortable talking about it. Many times I wanted my friends and family members to be there for me. But we were all struggling behind closed doors. I've come to believe that it's really important to talk about these things, and the main reason for this article is to encourage someone who may be grieving not to lose hope. And to reach out.
If it weren’t for my anchors, my support system, I couldn’t have made it back from the depths of grief. The loss of a loved one is devastating for the small, individual human mind. But week after week, we slowly reassemble the pieces of the puzzle called Life, and understand a little better the cycle of humanity. In that process, we might find the love that we had for the one we lost reflected in a sunset, a cool breeze, an invigorating run, or a friendly encounter with a stranger.
When the pain subsides, we can feel their presence all around us and within us, almost as if they never left. We can talk to them. We are not alone. Love is bigger than our minds can comprehend. Love is the strongest link between souls.
Grief is part of life, just as death is part of life, and it brings its own gifts and lessons along with the pain. Humility. Patience. Connection. Compassion.
Don’t rush through the process of grief. And don't expect others to rush through it. Be there for those in pain. Let them know they are loved. Acknowledge their struggle. Lift them up when they need support, but let them grieve however they want to grieve.
Founder, Warrior Flow