There is no formula for dying or grief. I was told eight times over two years that my granny was going to die. Each time the professional involved was 100% certain and very apologetic.
However, it’s the first time that has stuck with me. The first time I tried to comprehend that my best friend wasn’t going to be around forever. I felt as if the world was falling apart right in front of me. Physically I felt as if the ground was opening and an overwhelming sense of despair took over. Being completely honest I was a mess.
I started grieving for my granny two years before she died. Anticipatory grief is a strange one because the person is still here and yet your grieving for them already. I began to grieve for her before she passed because the strong women I once knew, who would fly around in her wheelchair, the lady whose pride revolved around her independence, became bedbound. She required 24-hour care which meant she had no privacy and had to give up a lot of her independence. Yet it was this situation that revealed her true strength. She will forever be my inspiration because I learnt so many valuable life lessons from her during this time. My favourite being that a hug can solve a lot.
Grief lets us learn a lot about not only our loved ones but ourselves as well. I learnt so much from this amazing woman I was lucky enough to call my granny.
Watching a loved one struggle with their health reveals their character. It shows their strength, their positivity, their determination to keep going. These are things that we remember long after the person is gone. Years after the funeral because they are the essence of the person we adored. I know that I must possess some of my granny’s strength. Even if its just a fraction of what she had I’m lucky because this will carry me through anything. If she could lie in her hospital bed as her health declined and still smile and laugh, then I can do that as well.
We almost owe it to our loved ones to carry on and make our selves even better versions of ourselves. Our days are limited. This is a terrifying thought but once we come to terms with it, it becomes liberating. We don’t know how long we have and so we must make the most of it (sorry to get all philosophical on you). Yes, there will be days that are shit. However, it’s on these days we must rally ourselves and draw on that inner courage.
Self-love should become a priority because you are the only one that can get yourself through this! So, channel that inner pain and turn it into something good. Use it to motivate yourself to do better. Use it to set goals for yourself and then use it to beat those goals and set even tougher ones. You got this!
You’re probably thinking eight times, god you’re greedy was once not enough for you?! I can honestly say eight times wasn’t enough. Whether a loved one passes away in an accident and you never get to say goodbye or you have all the time in the world to say goodbye, it’s never enough time. However, you will learn things through grieving that you never knew about yourself. Everyone’s grief is unique to them and so, unfortunately, there’s no set formula for dealing with grief.
However, one of the most important things that you need to discover is how you float in the sea that is grief. What enables you to get up in the morning and simply get out of bed? whatever it may be throwing yourself into it. It’s usually the little things such as going for a walk and getting some fresh air. Exercise really helps clear the head.
Grief comes in waves. Some are tiny, and you think you have a handle on things. Some are tidal, and you think you’ll never be ok. To survive, you must take each day as it comes. Imagine an orange segment, take one piece at a time.
There is no “normal” length of time it takes you to grieve. Everyone grieves differently. It is so important to remember this and remember your loved one with remembrance gifts.Everyone experiences the five stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance differently. Everyone is different. Try not to envy people who appear to be doing well. Everyone has their own coping mechanisms. Take me for example, if you met me on the street you would never know that I am grieving, simply because I smile all the time. People assume that this means I’m happy all the time.
That’s another thing, people are selfish. This may sound harsh, but people will forget about you and your grief. That’s ok, let them live with regrets. You must be your number one friend first, try not to forget that!
Set goals for yourself. Do things that make you happy, whatever they may be, however big or small. YOU are your main priority! Only you can get you through this. You must look after yourself which let’s face it no one feels like doing when their grieving. The easiest way to make yourself do this is to imagine your talking to a friend who is grieving, what would you say to them? I would encourage them, tell them they’re coping and that every step no matter how small is amazing. I would remind them that I was there for them and that I loved them, and I would give them a hug.
We all have so many people that care about us and many times we don’t even realise. Some people may give you beautiful unique bereavement gifts, be sure to hang on to these tight they can be very comforting. Take it easy and cope with your grief in the best way you can because at the end of the day, that’s all you can do!
I hope this helped even if only the smallest bit.