Sunday, 4 June 2017

The truth about grief and how one woman let go of it

Grief is one of the most overwhelming and complicated emotions that as a human I have ever had the displeasure of feeling. One minute you know it is for the best and the next thing your head remembers that you never got to say all the things you wanted to say and it hits you like a brick in the face. 

I watched an episode of 24 hours in A and E recently and at the end of the title credits the guy says that the worst thing is always remembering the last thing you ever said to someone and hoping that it is I love you, but even then it doesn’t make in any easier.

Everyone deals with grief in different ways it is such a complex emotion. Everyone is telling you the bog standard, ‘that everything is going to be ok’… ‘They’re at peace’, but how do they know that? How can everyone else see that everything will be ok and be so strong when it feels like your whole world is crumbling beneath your feet? You cry inevitably, uncontrollably and no one can calm you down. In that moment everything goes dark you don’t talk you don’t even remember or listen to what the person is saying to you. They could be stood in front of you or on the phone but all you can hear is ‘it is bad news’ and that is all that you needed to hear it replays over and over in your head, everything is irrelevant and then the words ‘they’re gone’ or ‘I’m sorry’. Boom! It hits you again and no matter how much you think you are prepared for it nothing can come to your mind other than what you’ve just heard. You open your mouth but nothing comes out, and when you come around you realise that you’re crying, screaming or just inconsolable. All you see when you close your eyes is their face, the person that is gone, but the picture is fuzzy and all you want is it to focus so that you can say what you wanted too but it is way too late. 

Time passes and then the anger sets in an unbelievable anger and it usually is targeted at those closest to you. They haven’t done anything but try to support you but like most things, grief has no boundary. It will come at you from every angle and you go through the selfish anger that why is everyone else ok and you’re not coping. You feel angry at yourself for not being able to be ok, but there is nothing you can do. They are gone now so what is the point in being angry but still, this unrelenting anger rises in you. You say things you don’t mean or stop talking altogether anything to not let everyone else see how hurt you are.

Time passes again and then comes the point where you tell everyone ‘I’m fine’ and that ‘you understand’ where they were coming from, and some people's grief stops there. Personally, for me this is when the denial sets in. It is too much and you can bet that in your room when it is just you and a box of Kleenex then you still cry. A song, a quote, a voice or an advert and it takes you straight back to the lowest point but you feel too weak and insecure to talk about it. You’ve told everyone that ‘You’re fine’. You will be ok. Everyone keeps telling you and you have to tell yourself now too but still, in that moment when you are alone in the dark you reminisce, you do anything to not think about it, to escape it for a second but nothing works.

No matter who it is or what you’ve done you have to hold on to the memories and even if you think they aren’t there they will come just like everything it takes time. Be it one thing about them and it can be the silliest of things and that is the best feeling, you learn to not regret things that you didn’t say and remember the good things that you did. The good memory is what you need to hold on too and that internal battle is the hardest thing to overcome, you just need to hold onto the fact that it will come it may be days, weeks, months later but it will come. 

No matter how alone you feel the people that truly love and care for you will always be there no matter how much you push them. Reach out to anyone you trust enough, a family member, friends a stranger or if you can’t do that write it down. Get your feelings there on paper let it out, don’t let grief win, don’t let yourself tarnish the memory of the person you’ve lost. The people that listen and are there for you in the end understand a hell of a lot more than you think. Just don’t suffer on your own, don’t ever feel like you are a burden to people because they will always listen.

I’m not religious and I don’t really believe in fate but I do believe that you get your reward in this life and in the next, and those people that listened to me truly are angels. Nan, you’re out there somewhere and you should know you are so loved by everyone, no matter what has happened and the tears that were shed eventually everything will be ok. Even when you are not here anymore there is always someone waiting for you on the other side wherever you believe that is. Reunions and chocolate raisins have got me through as my memories and as a wise woman once told me ‘they can take everything away from you but memories are yours’.

The last thing I said was that ‘I love you’ and I know you and I can hold onto that forever.

Written by VavaViolet's writer Jessica Murray

(If anyone wants to talk about the issues Jess has spoken about here, all of the team here at VavaViolet will offer an ear to listen to you, it is always better to talk to someone, you are never truly alone - contact

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