Death. Loss. Grief.
These three musketeers, inseparable little things! They travel together. When they show up at your doorstep, you can only comply with whatever they throw at you, there are no options. But if it even helps, I have been told it’s all to teach us something.
It’s been barely 6 months and yours truly has lost two dear people in the family. I don’t mean to underestimate what anyone else has gone or is going through, but when I say that it was exaggerated, believe me. Infact, I have often thought that it’s time for God to give us a little break.
First was back in September 2020, and it was all devastating. I had so many questions that have not been answered since. I found comfort in the fact that she was unwell for a few days and everything gave way. I lost it for a few months. I eventually found little pieces of myself in anything that could keep me busy. Unfortunately this method didn’t seem to work so well, because apparently life doesn’t work that way.
Fast forward to this year, I pulled up my sleeves to pick up life from where I had left off. The goal was to show up and do what the best I could, I even wrote down everything I wanted to achieve in the following few months. That was short-lived too. Because at the beginning of March 2021, death decided to strike another close family member.
On a good Saturday morning as he took off for his usual sports routine, the good Lord decided that was the best time to snatch him away. In a nasty, bad-looking accident, he breathed his last, leaving no chance of hoping it was all a mistake.
The path to recovery after loss is certainly not the same for all of us. I have learnt a few things (mostly the hard way). Though saying that I expect anyone to find my experience exactly compatible with their situation would be a bad lie, if there is even a slight possibility that my experience about death, loss, and grief may be helpful to another living soul, here goes.
Now, this could be ‘a lot of time’. There is unfortunately no switch to quickly get over loss and just move on with your life. The only way out is by getting through it, and that takes a while.
- Healing takes time. Grieving is forever
Oh, by the way, there’s nothing like getting over it. Some days maybe great, but once in a while, everything hits back. The slight good news here is that it gets better with time.
- Loss/Grief changes you as a person.
You know we are all different, so it should not surprise you that we also react to both happy and sad experiences differently. After getting familiar with loss, only a few people come out the same.
If it doesn’t leave you in a state where you don’t really care about life because nothing seems to matter anyway, it may teach you to close your heart and armour up to prepare for what may come next. If you ever find yourself in these ugly times, I hope you get the latter.
- You do what works for you.
When mourning the loss of someone/people that meant so much to you, there is no perfect formula. Just like any other emotions, no one can lecture you on how to feel sad or grieve and certainly not how much you can take at a time.
You feel like screaming, like you are on a mountain top? Do that. You feel like talking about it with a friend? It helps a lot. You feel like taking some time to understand what it all means to you? Go for it! If you can even pray about it, the better. Oh, and it doesn’t matter how fast everyone else seems to have moved on. No pressure whatsoever.
- You will need your friends.
From time to time, you may need to have a friend with you. It’s even better when they know how best they can be supportive. From crazy outdoor treats to quiet time as you occupy your mind with other topics; it’s all better with a friend around.
And while you at it, remember to pay it forward. The one mistake that I probably did was not to check on my own friends during the time, forgetting that they may be going through a horrible time too. Don’t be like me.
- Grieving time is reinventing.
Grieving time can’t leave you exactly the same. You are likely to discover things that you probably didn’t know about yourself.
The most shocking discoveries are when you find out you are mad at life and God. If you are lucky though, it will teach you to be more thankful to God and appreciate another chance at life.
- Appreciate people while they are still alive.
This may sound weird but one of the things that gave me unexpected comfort with the recent loss was knowing that for every chance I had, I told my cousin that I loved him and appreciated him, something that I probably didn’t do much with my sister.
I have since vowed to myself to break the culture of writing long eulogies telling people how much they meant to me after they are out of this life. Well, maybe they still get the message, who knows? But how about practicing to make the same statements while these people are still breathing the same air that we do? Because after the undying reminder that you will never see someone again and the unsaid things or unexpressed feelings mostly break our hearts the most.
- Live while you are still alive.
Last but not least, do you have a bucket list? Well, you don’t have to. But you probably know the things that bring back life into you. Those that make your soul smile. Do those unapologetically. Take chances. Take every day like it could be your last.
You see, life is not guaranteed. One moment you are here, the other you are gone. People are trying to search for every memory they made with you and say all the nice things about you that you never heard of!