If you’re becoming depressed from reading my updates about grief, I don’t blame you. Feel free to unsubscribe at any time. For me, however, writing is cathartic. It helps me express my innermost emotions, and it’s entirely up to you if you feel like reading it or not. If I subscribed to my own blog and had never experienced a pain like the one I’m going through, I’d unsubscribe in a heartbeat. I used to avoid anything that could potentially bum me out. Well, this time I was not given a choice…

In the past four weeks following the passing of my best friend and one true soulmate, I’ve been on an emotional journey that I would never recommend anyone buying a ticket for.

I’ve learned so much about myself in mourning the hardest loss of my life, and knowing that I’m still only at the beginning makes this process seem like a neverending task. To be honest, there is great doubt in my heart as to whether I’ll ever get through this. While I’ve experienced deep sadness over death in the past, I have never experienced such heart-wrenching grief as the one I’m going through right now.

No one is ‘trained’ in tragic loss – there is no way to prepare for it or to handle it well. The past few weeks have made me feel incredibly alone with my grief, so in order to educate myself on this painful journey I’m on, I’ve read several books on grief and bereavement. “When your soulmate dies”, “Grief works”, “Grief one day at a time”. I found the best book to be “A grief observed” by C.S. Lewis, and the first line of that book describes my very state of being: “No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear”. Grief is fear. Fear that the pain will never go away, fear that something similar may happen to other loved ones, fear that you may break down completely, fear that you’ll never smile again, fear that you have forever lost the person you once were.

Grief is also pain. Not just heartache but very physical pain. Headaches from crying, shoulder pain from tension, stomachache from distorted eating patterns. GRIEF F***ING HURTS!

I’ve also learned that grief cannot be controlled – nor should it. Much like you cannot control when you love someone, you cannot control grief. Grief is a force so much bigger than yourself, and it can literally bring you to your knees. You simply have no say when it comes to grief. It will let you go when it’s done with you and it’s far from done with me yet. I’m writing these very lines after yet another devastating emotional breakdown that left me sobbing violently for a full hour.

There are days where my grief is so strong that I can hardly muster the courage to get out of bed. Even drinking a glass of water can seem like an impossible mission. Then there are other days where I feel a bit better – as if my body simply cannot go on feeling miserable any longer. As if I’ve cried enough tears for an entire lifetime and there are none left. Only to find out a day or an hour later, that there are always more tears.

As author Elizabeth Gilbert wrote after the loss of her partner: “People keep asking me how I am. Okay today, yesterday not so good. Tomorrow, we’ll see.” You’re not automatically getting better every day like when you scrape your knee and it just needs some time to heal. When your heart is broken all the laws of physics and logic are broken as well. You may smile in one moment and nearly drown yourself in tears the next.

I fiercely reject the theory of stages of grief. As if it’s somehow something through which you can measure your progress. My grief comes in waves – sometimes in tsunamis. Then it subsides only to hit me even harder when I’m least prepared for it. It comes and goes. Sometimes it stays with me for days, sometimes only for a few hours. But it is never gone for long. I always know it’s right there waiting for me, and all I can do is try to accept it. Grief is natural. It’s painful but it’s natural and the more we fight it the more it will cling to us. Grief is a power so much bigger and stronger than ourselves.

That’s also why we shouldn’t deal with it alone. I’m not alone either, although my grief is my own. I have a wonderful support system and a grief therapist. But even so, there are still days where I would wish that a meteor would just strike this Hell-like planet so we could end this misery once and for all. – Yep, grief is also sometimes pure anger!

 

 

1 Comment »

  1. I am sorry that you worry (or even think) that readers would be turned off by your memories with your friend. Although many readers probably came here because of your studies in Korean or your life as an expat in Korea, grief is an important part of that life. Grief knows no language or cultural boundaries. Please continue expressing your feelings – use the f-bomb, speak too loudly, throw a few things if necessary. Since we can’t be there to pat your shoulder, bring a meal or even sit in silence with you, listening to the uncensored you is all us readers can do.

    Joyce Carol Oates writes that “The use of language is all we have to pit against death and silence.” I look forward to your finding your own language for how you feel now and in the future.

    Like

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