I love the picture above because it represents what people expect out of a grieving person, and the other picture shows so clearly how it really it. You do not go in a linear path and then your good to go. Grief is messy, grief is a wild ride that you never asked to join.
When you first begin your journey down grief, it’s so scary and crazy. All these new emotions that you never knew you could feel come crashing down all around you. I have often thought that maybe grief gets a little easier because I have become more comfortable with the emotions of grief and I can name them fairly easily. I can know what I’m feeling and why.
There is this analogy that this invisible person is now walking beside you on your journey of life. His name is grief. He will be with you the rest of your life. Right away he makes you very uncomfortable because he’s so unfamiliar, and you don’t want him there. Then as time goes on, you start to become for comfortable with this person called “Grief”. He almost begins to seem like an old friend.
You have lost a child. That is SO INCREDIBLY PAINFUL! That pain is there for a reason. It hurts. It’s okay to feel it. You have lost someone beautiful and so so special to you. Let’s just sit with that. Let’s sit with your pain and your loss and your grief. It’s okay to be there, it’s okay to feel it, it’s okay to be angry, and sad, and frustrated, and brokenhearted, and all of the things. You are human and you are feeling human emotions to your loss.
The typical emotions of grief that you can find on the internet are: Denial/Shock, Bargaining, Anger, Depression, and Acceptance. While these are all very much a part of grief, they are not the only emotions you can feel. I felt so many strange emotions I started to wonder if I was going crazy, until my therapist told me I was actually normal. I was not going crazy.
I have had all those emotions, but they don’t talk about fear, anxiety, waiting for the next shoe to drop. Apathy, nothingness. All of those are normal too. It’s so hard to learn how to process our emotions, especially the emotions of grief. The first step is understanding what the emotions are, that they are normal, and that you are not going crazy.
I really believe the number one factor that has helped me on my grief journey is letting myself learn my emotions, and process them. There are so many other things that go into it as well, but I would say letting myself feel my pain has been my biggest one.
I made a list of common emotions of grief. You can get it below. I put definitions as well, because sometimes we don't even know what we are feeling.
I want to paint that picture for you, because people always say you never get over it, you never “get better”. And I would argue that your child and your love for them will always be with you. They will ALWAYS be a part of your life. But hopefully you learn to live with it and the grief changes to something that is manageable and almost even something that you can hold on to for all the lessons it has taught you.
For me, it has taught me to feel my emotions and let myself work through them instead of shoving them away.
It has taught me that there is so much more to this life than only the joys and the fun times. The sad, incredibly painful parts are part of this life and they can be such great teachers.
It’s taught me to have compassion and love for others, because I really don’t know where they are or what they struggle with in their life.
It has taught me to truly soak in the good moments, notice when I feel content and be glad for that. When I’m joyful, be thankful.
It has taught me that life is not in my control at all. I can try and do all I can, and I will try and do all I can, but at the end of the day, it’s up to God.
Grief is a big teacher if we let it. We can learn a lot from it. I know it’s so painful and lonely. I know it’s difficult and hard to bear. I always said I could never handle a child dying on me. You have probably said that too. But guess what? You are still here. Maybe not fully yet. But you are still breathing. You are still alive for a reason. And so am I. Let me take your hand and let you know you are not alone.
Make sure you get your free list of the emotions of grief! You can get it above!