Grief is a strange process that takes on a unique shape for each person. It presents itself when you least expect it or hides when you’re certain it should overwhelm you. There is no logic—that’s what makes it so terrifying. Your deepest, most primal emotions release themselves when you’re grieving.
It appears unannounced, like a betrayal of your own sanity. You might feel okay, even good, and then you break down and start sobbing out of nowhere at a fleeting memory or thought. The pain bubbles up from deep inside, despite your best efforts to go on with your life. You feel like you’re losing your mind because your emotions change constantly throughout the day. You engage in behaviors you never thought possible of yourself—maybe you’re too embarrassed to even admit to some of them. Nothing seems to make you feel better, whether it’s opening up to your feelings or ignoring them. It’s downright tortuous.
There is so much unnecessary stigma around grief. You are judged for the manner in which you express your sorrow. It’s too much. It’s too little. The period of time for which you’ve grieved is lasting too long—you need to get yourself together already. You didn’t allow yourself any time for sadness at all—clearly you are in denial. Grief takes the burden of intense scrutiny when instead it should be treated with infinite kindness and exquisite care. It is maddening that something so sacred has been reduced to a formula that every person is expected, by societal standards, to follow.
It’s bullshit. You are the only one of you in this world. Your grief is going to take on its own, equally unique life. Do not let others snatch away your right to process emotion in whatever way you feel is appropriate.
Grieving is a universally felt human rite of passage. Everyone has been through the pain of loss in one form or another. When you see someone else going through it, remember your own experiences and be gentle with them. Do not judge or jump to conclusions. Simply support them, however they may need you. It’s the best way you can help, and hopefully someone will be there to do the same for you when you need support.
Be kind to yourself when you’re grieving, even if you feel the world is judging you for it. No one else has any damn say in how you process your sadness in order to survive and come out on the other side without losing your spirit. Trust that no matter what surfaces in this time of great upheaval, someone somewhere before you has been through the same turmoil. You are not a weirdo, and you are not alone.
Your transition may not be pretty or hopeful or anything that you’d like it to be. That’s okay. Let it be real, above all else. Do not deny yourself your own healing by trying to rush through your grief, by stifling it, or by forcing yourself to try and feel emotions that aren’t organically there.
You are allowed your grief. Own it. Process it. Do what you need to do, and above all, listen to yourself. Only you know what you need, but once you know what that is, do not hesitate to ask for support. You do not have to do this alone.