Living Through Grief

Grief is the trickiest of emotions, the stickiest of feelings, and something no one enjoys talking about. It’s something that can’t truly be felt by anyone else, because grief feels so different to every one of us. And in my experience every grief process feels slightly different too. The place it’s coming from, the person you lost, the experience you went through. The energy of each situation places us somewhere different in our emotions, the emotions hit different areas of the body, and so in turn we live through the grief in different ways. I’ve always struggled personally with the guilt of living through grief. It feels like the world should stop for this trauma. Like the loss should hit pause. How can I continue moving when this area of my life is suddenly significantly more empty? 

This last week I found myself sitting in the shock and the numbness that always begins the grief process for me. It seems no matter how many times I get a phone call, or hear personally from one of my circle, that someone has shifted from this state of being to the next it still hits just as hard as the first one. The temptation of dis-associating and staring at a wall is there. The immediate heart ache happens. My chest feels heavy and missing words bubble up in my throat. It feels to me like hitting a wall and all I want to do is hole up and pretend I don’t know what’s going on. If I were to be honest, that is my ingrained since childhood coping mechanism. Give me my bed and let me sleep until the pain and grief is gone. The kicker is I know how that looks, and I know from experience that the pain and grief go no where while you’re in the midst of an unhealthy coping mechanism. So despite the urge to go back to bed after the news I got up and went to the pool with friends like I had planned. 

It’s not that I didn’t think about my mentor that had shifted. Because I did, many times. In fact, I sat and told my new friends about her and her impact on my life. I told them about how talented she was and how she took me to lunch just a few short weeks ago. I told them that I would miss her. I was honest about how I felt and then I stepped away from the pain. In the past I would have kept my mouth shut in an attempt to not spoil the day we had planned. I would have thought all day about how she had passed and it would have left me in a spiral of emotions. But all the words would have been caught in my throat and my friends would have definitely recognized my distance and my pain. That’s not something you can hide even if you are a good liar. 

I still had moments throughout the day where I felt that guilt of living through the grief. I wasn’t just moving through the grief process, I was living. I had fun. And the thought of having fun immediately after the loss feels like you’re not honoring them, it feels like moving too fast past the news. How can I be having a good time when someone important to me is no longer in this state of being too? Or in the words that I actually thought ‘how shitty is it that I’m having a good time and they are dead?’ I’m not sure what stage of processing grief that is, I don't ever really hear others talk about the immense amount of guilt that can happen when you are enjoying life 'despite' the trauma that has happened. 

The truth of it is that, ignoring the cliche or corny-ness of it, continuing to live my life is exactly what she would have wanted me to do. 

I've never really liked the idea of 'processing grief'. I understand that there are common things that happen while you are experiencing grief, I even understand that truly the steps being listed can make someone feel less alone knowing they are going through something that so many other people have been through and that there are commonalities between everyone's grief. But, the idea of it being a process feels like it is something you have to continually work at, something that should be looked at and experienced until it is done. I prefer to use the phrase living through the grief instead. It is something we carry with us whether we run to the other side of the country, give ourselves distractions, sleep, etc. We have to learn to live with the feelings, we have to allow ourselves to experience those feelings as they happen convenient or not, we have to speak our truth without the fear of being a burden to those around us. As we carry it with us through our lives, as we live with it, it becomes less heavy. We can remember the loss, along side the love. 

Because really, isn't the loss the loss of love?

About the Article's Author

Emily Lawrie
Emily has been floating around Essential Energies, with her mother Kendra or her grandmother- current co-owner Glenda, since she was a little girl, always interested in what all the practitioners were doing. She began training to be a Reiki Master at sixteen and started doing angel and oracle readings soon after. You can often find her in the main office fixing the website or giving card readings.