Part of me is raising my hand in solidarity and shouting “YES, AWARENESS!” because, honestly, awareness is such an important and valuable thing. Yet on the other hand, my cynical side is just sitting here saying “Well, I’m aware of my grief every day, so…”
When I say that I’m aware of my grief every day, I’m not saying that I’m grief-stricken to the point of being unable to get out of bed or crying all the time. And I’m not saying that I’m unhappy or that I’m unable to enjoy life.
Nope, I’m not saying any of that. At all.
What I am saying is that a piece of my grief and a piece of my loss is always with me. It’s not overpowering and overwhelming all the time, but it’s always there. Like a paper cut. There are times that you feel it more acutely than others — you know, like when you get salt in said paper cut and it stings like no other? Yes, that sort of acute.
That’s something I never truly understood about grief until I lost my father — how two diametrically opposing emotions like happiness and grief can — and do — exist simultaneously. But they do, and this is something I’ve talked about in therapy in recent years. It doesn’t have to be one or the other and you aren’t forced to choose one over the other, either.
And, honestly, I sort of appreciate that ever-present grief too. Because I feel like it keeps me tied to my father just as much as my happy childhood memories do. It’s an interesting dichotomy, for sure, and one I’m sure I’ll continue to explore in the future.
Here is a really great article on how grief never really goes away and it’s so important to recognize this in other people’s grief and be empathetic and compassionate in where they are in their journey. It might not be where you are and that’s OK. No two people walk the same grief path and it’s a very individual journey. Be a love and light for them on their journey, just as you’d expect the same from them while on your journey. And, here are some tips on grief that people on Twitter had to share — such amazing and helpful advice!
If you’re grieving, friends, I hope you know that I see you and I love you. What do you wish people understood about grief? What ways do you think people can help those who are grieving?? Here’s to getting through National Grief Awareness Day together… xoxo
[Photos via We Heart It]