Is Grief Still Hard?
A friend of mine lost her husband six years ago and she told me not too long ago that someone asked her, with a side of surprise, "is it still hard?". As if she were to have gotten over that loss already.
That question could only come from someone who has not experienced great grief or any grief for that matter. It is an innocent enough question, they didn't mean harm, but society tells us there is a limitation on our feelings, on our grief. And newsflash, there isn't.
Sunday was Mother's Day. I told my partner, I had no intention to make any intentions. I did not want to commit to anything, it was my second Mother's Day without my mom. My sister had invited me to her youngest's first communion and lunch and I told her, I just didn't want to commit. She understood, she's experienced this same great grief. Mother's Day is a day I'm allowed to grieve. Her birthday is a day I'm allowed to still grieve. The anniversary of her passing is a day I'm allowed to grieve.
But what about my birthday? What about the anniversary of the family trip we went on? Or on Christmas? What about the anniversary of the week we got her diagnosis? Or a random Tuesday when I just wanted to call her and lean on her shoulder? What about those days too? What about the good days? What about the day I accepted a new job offer? How about the day my partner moved in? Lest we not forget the other good and big days that things happen too.
Grief, for those of you lucky enough to have not yet experienced it, but trust me, you will, it has no agenda to follow. Grief creeps up in the most expected and unexpected times. I've cried while painting my nails and I've woken up in a fit of tears. I've felt grief in a fit of laughter and in the silence of stillness. I allowed myself to wallow in grief on mother's day, because society told me it was okay to do so on that day. I can choose to allow myself to grieve every mother's day or just whenever it shows up in expected and in the unexpected.
So I am here to tell you, asking someone if it is still hard is like asking someone on the day of their loved one's passing "how are you?". It is a question that needs not be asked, because the answer is either obvious or maybe just depends on the day you ask. Some days it is unbearable, some days it isn't. Our grief is a personal journey, and if we choose to invite you along with us, it isn't because we want to bring you down. It is because you are strong enough to carry us through it. So no need to ask the questions, just be still with us when the world feels like it is spinning.