This piece is an open letter to anyone suffering the loss of a loved one, and the author’s attempt to share your grief.
If you are reading this, you have probably either lost someone very dear to you, or you are afraid you might, and you just want to feel prepared. I know you have a lot of questions, and full disclosure. And I honestly don’t have answers to perhaps even half of them, but I have a lot to say (or write), and I want to be there for you. Don’t worry, I am not going to walk you through your “5 stages of grief” because I don’t think the amount or way in which you grieve the loss of a loved one is linear or can be put into a formula. Everyone processes death in a different way, your loss is personal and you are entitled to choose your own journey towards healing from it.
Neither will I tell you to “get over it”, because how do you even get over the fact that you have for eternity, lost someone around whom was a huge chunk of your life premised. I am here to be your friend, to probably make some “unhealthy” choices with you, but most importantly to tell you that you don’t have to “leave it all behind” – the memories and experiences you shared with your human to “move on”, because you cannot erase the recollection of moments you spent with your loved one. The more you will try to run away, the more the grief will catch on. I believe that embracing the loss, love and memories together, and moving forward with them is a healthier, if not easier way around it.
My 2 cents on life and death
Universe is a gigantic chaos. On a principal level, we still don’t know how and why things happen the way they do. We wonder if everything that we ever experience is carefully crafted scheme of events by some higher power, or a bedlam of randomness that conjures itself up; whether butterfly effect is impacting every moment of people’s lives, or we are too trivial as nihilism suggests, to ever have a tangible impact on how things function. There are so many questions we have for the cosmic that have no answers, but we do know one thing: the cycle of life and death is inevitable.
Amidst the absurdity of being born without consent and dying without it, we try to extend some sense to our otherwise meaningless lives, by filling it with people we can love. But life as we know it has only one constant, i.e., change. Different phases of our lives are marked by different sets of people that we grow to admire and surround ourselves with. The thrill and joy of making new friends and cultivating new relationships is perfectly balanced by the hurt associated with losing the ones you currently hold dear. Sometimes, you outgrow each other, sometimes you break each-others’ hearts, but the most devastating of all is the loss by death, because of how abrupt it is. All of a sudden, a human you hold so dear leaves you behind without any sense of closure, and you will never see them, hear from them or hug them ever again.
Death is a price you pay for living, and this is one tax you cannot evade. But is death so bad? If we really think about it, the beauty of doom hides in the fact that it makes us live a little extra each day. If life were eternal, we would never really appreciate it. We get to love our dear ones harder, every single day, because deep down we all know our life might end sooner than we anticipate, and we ourselves aren’t immune to death either.
How to deal with grief of death?
Grief is not a task but a process, a rollercoaster ride, if I put it in that way. While there isn’t a step-by-step guide on how to recover from the death of a loved one, here is a list of advices from a friend who wants to be there for you:
Accept death as the part and parcel of life: Easier said than done, accepting death as an inevitable end to every beautiful journey of life, with grace, makes the process of letting go and moving forward easy. Listen this, maybe this chaotic universe isn’t that meaningless after all, and anyone who comes has a purpose to fulfill, and once it’s done, they tip their hat and sign off. Sure, they won’t be around to witness the blossoms of seeds they’d sown, but they can still see it whenever they wish to, from up there.
Embrace how you feel: The void that comes with someone leaving is a haven of emotions that feel alien, but are very real, and the only way around, is to get comfortable with the uncomfortable. Dear one, in grief there is no such thing as a right or wrong feeling. It’s okay to be mad at them sometimes because they had plans, you had plans together and now it’s just you left behind. It’s okay to cry your eyes out when you miss them terribly without feeling the need to be strong. It’s also okay if you don’t feel sad but choose to cherish your time together and all of the things you have been through – good or bad. It’s okay if you choose to execute the plans you made together, alone in their honor. In grief, you can choose to celebrate their life and validate your hurt, however you want.
Coping with change: The most difficult thing about accepting death is the change that comes with it, because your life will never be the same again, without someone you had premised a huge chunk of your life on. It’s okay to struggle with that change, take time with it and let yourself get sunk in it for some time.
Let others be there for you: No, you’re not burdening your friends with your emotions if you need to talk/rant/sob about your pain. Reach out if that makes you comfortable. They would love to be there for you, they just don’t know how to. You can also reach out to people suffering the loss of same person as you do, share beautiful memories or anecdotes, and reminisce the beauty their life was.
Art as an outlet: Sketching/painting/Music/Dance/Cooking or literally anything you love losing yourself to, do it. Let yourself get soaked by your passion, even if you have to push yourself initially. Even psychotherapist Megan Divine in her book “It’s okay if you’re not okay” recommends pouring emotions into art while grieving. At the end, I know how hard it must be for you, or maybe I don’t and never would, but I hope my small attempt to share your pain and grief wasn’t a total waste.
With love and warm hugs
A friend trying to be there for you
Featured Image Credits: nickoch’s blog