“Memories you’ve shared, Gone for good you feared, They’re all around you still, Though they’ve disappeared, Nothing’s really left or lost without a trace, Nothing’s gone forever, Only out of place.”-Mary Poppins
What does grief look like? How can you tell when someone is grieving or why? Short answer: Grief wears a million different faces and sometimes you cannot see the grief and loss hidden beneath the surface of a well manicured persona. If you live this life long enough, you will lose someone or something that is of significant importance to you. It could be a job, a friend, a lifestyle, a marriage, a spouse, a parent, a child, and the list goes on.
How do you grieve? What is the “right way” to do it? I’ve been asked this on multiple occasions across multiple situations in professional and personal capacities. MY answer: There is no “right way”. We are all different in how we experience and process emotions, which applies no differently to how we all differ in experiencing and processing loss in a variety of ways.
Grief is a reaction to loss. When you lose someone or something that YOU deem important in your life, then you grieve. For some, this means diving into a million other activities to shift focus and stay busy. For others, this means wallowing in sorrow, memories, and spending sleepless nights crying or lying awake. And there are a million variants of the in between. No one can tell you how to grieve or get through something even if they have experienced something similar.
Time, talking with those who love and support you, getting thoughts and feelings surrounding your loss out into the open, and feeling your way through it in a way that is most healing for you is undefinable. How long it takes one person to process a loss may be double or half for a person experiencing the same loss. When and how you are able to process your thoughts and emotions is a process unique to everyone.
If you find yourself literally at a loss, lean on those around you, talk (or don’t) and feel as best as YOU can at a pace that feels comfortable for you, and allow yourself the grace, pace, and space to do so. And if you don’t know who to turn to or lean on, I’d love to listen.