The word “grief” is only five letters long but it is packed with so much hurt and pain.
The definition of “grief” is: deep sorrow, especially that caused by someone’s death.
When we lose a friend or loved one to death, most people go through what is known as a period of “grieving.” For some, the “grieving” process might last a few months but, for others, it may take longer — years, in fact. No one can anticipate how long they will “grieve” nor should they. “Grieving” is different for everyone because no two people are alike.
My aunt died a little over a year ago, and my 5-year-old granddaughter, at random times, becomes overwhelmed when she thinks about her death. She’ll start crying and say, “I miss Aunt Jeanette.” The funny thing is Jordyn-Marie only saw her a handful of times but my aunt (her great great aunt) made a huge impression on her young life. When her room was being done, I printed out some pictures of her with her immediate family that I hung on her wall, but I also printed a stand alone picture of my aunt, which is sitting on her dresser. She told me recently, “When I move, I’m taking my picture of Aunt Jeanette with me.” My response was “It’s perfectly fine because it’s your picture.” This put a huge smile on her face. So you see, “grief” doesn’t discriminate as, sadly, even children are plagued by it.
How many of you have lost loved ones and feel the same way as my granddaughter? Losing a loved one is certainly life changing, but thank God for the memories you made with them. You may remember a meaningful or silly conversation or are surrounded by gifts they’ve given you or maybe you’ve come across pictures you took together that you had forgotten about. Even though you’re “grieving,” these are the memories that put a smile on your face — at least temporarily.
Perhaps, you’re in the group of people that didn’t have a great relationship with your loved one before they passed, and you never had a chance to “mend the fence.” Now, you’re carrying a burden of guilt because you didn’t take the high road and attempt to repair the relationship before it was too late. “If you only had one more day, you’d make it right,” you tell yourself. At this point, you don’t care what the argument or disagreement was about; you just want to be able to spend more time with them. Please stop beating yourself up. You had no idea they were going to leave you. Forgive yourself so that the healing can begin.
How many times have you wanted to pick up the phone to say hello only to remember they are no longer here with you. Maybe you wanted to share a funny story with them because you knew they’d be the only one who’d get it. Then, there are the dreaded first holidays after their passing that puts you on the road of depression as you attempt to celebrate without them. Alas, you are left with a huge whole in your hearts that may diminish in size over time but will never go away.
I, too, have suffered grief but mine didn’t come from losing anyone that I shared a relationship with. I’ve lost a number of loved ones that I sorely miss, but the only time I’ve actually experienced “deep grief” was when I couldn’t have kids. Growing up, the only thing I could think of was getting married and starting a family. I’ve always loved children and, as most young girls did back then, I came up with all sorts of names for them (none of which I used, by the way). I had two tubal pregnancies (the last one could have taken me out), and one miscarriage, possibly two (this one wasn’t confirmed). When I found out I was pregnant I was actually miscarrying. I couldn’t believe it. Here I was pregnant, and in my uterus this time, but it didn’t happen. I was absolutely devastated. How could this be happening to me. It wasn’t fair. I cried when no one saw me. I screamed when no one was around. I was on an emotional rollercoaster ride each and every month for years as “Susie” always made her grand entrance, even though I “begged and pleaded with her not to.”
As I looked around me, it seemed as though every woman was pregnant or had no difficulties in achieving pregnancy. Of course this wasn’t true, but it sure seemed that way to me. I would get all worked up every time I thought about those women who didn’t even want children but were able to conceive. I felt like I was less than a woman and certainly didn’t feel like I was whole. “What’s wrong with me? Why am I being punished? Am I cursed,” I used to ask myself.
I “grieved” the tubal pregnancies. I “grieved” the miscarriage(s) as they were indicators that I would never be a mother in the sense of carrying a child in my womb. For a while, after each loss, every time I saw a pregnant woman or a woman with a baby, I felt like I was dying inside and had to hold back the tears that threatened to roll down my face. Even after I had a half of tube left, I figured it was enough to get pregnant although my gynecologist told me there was only a 5% chance. In my mind, a slim chance was better than none at all and I continued to hold on to faith and hope.
This was another one of those instances wherein I “painted” on my happy face and suffered in silence. The women who were able to bear children couldn’t have possibly understood my pain, and I didn’t want their pity. Looking back, that probably wasn’t the best idea because everyone needs someone to talk to. Then to add to my pain, people would ask me when was I going to have children. This cut deep to the core, but I smiled and simply responded, “I don’t know.”
I can’t tell you how long I “grieved” but it seemed like forever. However, at some point or another I got over it but was still hurt because I didn’t understand why this had to be my plight. I kept hoping and praying and even bargained with God hoping that it would be my turn, but it never happened. At one point, I had to accept this reality; however, it wasn’t until I went into menopause. On the one hand, I was happy that my cycle days were over because then I wouldn’t have to deal with my “mind” every month but, on the other hand, it was a reminder of what was never going to be. As I type this article, my emotions are very raw as tears escape my eyes as the pain that I haven’t felt in years rises to the surface. It caught me completely off guard and hit me like a ton of bricks. In the end, however, God blessed me with three beautiful children.
I read on FaceBook recently: “Grief is like living two lives. One is where you pretend that everything is okay, and the other is where your heart silently screams in pain.” This speaks volumes. People say that, “time heals all wounds,” but does it really? My take on it is that we get better over time, but there are random moments when the wounds reopen without warning. The only thing I can say is thank God for the power of prayer because, honestly, that is the only thing that kept me sane when I was at my lowest.
If your feelings of “grief” are all consuming, it’s okay to seek out a “grief” support group or talk to a therapist. Sometimes, you need extra supports in place to help you get through the difficulties you’re facing. You’re human…
It’s okay to feel.
It’s okay to be angry.
It’s okay to question.
What you’re experiencing is normal.
Today is not the end, even though it may feel like it.
You will be able to go on.
Know that you’re not alone.
I didn’t plan on sharing my personal story of “grief” but this article seemed to have taken on a life form of it’s own. I pray it blesses someone who may have needed to hear it.
P.S.: I now have a podcast that is featured on Spotify, Anchor as well as Apple Podcasts and a few others, which you may find under Grace Deveraux or “Take A Leap With Grace.” Also, videos and other “tidbits” are uploaded to my Instagram account, @Gracedeveraux, or my Facebook page, Grace Deveraux, each Friday afternoon. Please stop by and check out what I’ve been up to. 😊