What makes us alive is the fact that we aren’t dead. All of us have experience loss, yet it is so hard to embrace grief and the reality that we have lost someone. It can feel unreal, unsurpassable, heartbreaking, terrifying, lonely, overwhelming and (insert feeling). Let’s talk grieving and mourning.
grieving vs mourning
I think it’s important to start off with the difference between the two. Grieving is what you feel internally (heartbreak, overwhelming) , while mourning is how your feelings are expressed externally (crying, sadness).
what are these feelings of grief?
Is grieving the feeling of loving someone who is not there anymore? And missing someone always? Or is it the shock of death? Can it be the memories, that replay in your mind and the realisation that you won’t make new ones?
I think it is all of the above and so much more – because loving encompasses everything. It is simply put by none other than Nick Cave: “if we love, we grieve”. Here we are, the cause and effect, simple and pure. Unavoidable and human. Beautiful and heartwarming, yet terrible and heartbreaking.
It seems to me, that if we love, we grieve
That’s the deal
That’s the pact
Grief and love are forever intertwined
Grief is the terrible reminder
of the depths of our love
And, like love, grief is non-negotiableNick Cave
why am I writing this?
I am writing this not long after my grandfather slept in, after a battle with cancer. It’s personal and I am beside myself, like I am in a surreal dream. It keeps coming back to me that I won’t speak to him again nor will the messages I sent him ever be read. I think it’s absoluteness of this, the forever, that gets to me.
The reason I decided to write about it is simple. Not more than 2 weeks ago, my granddad texted me that he loved how I wrote on my website. Yes, my granddad had subscribed and got my updates (a jewel!). He wrote that he loved how I had summed up the post about 2021’s memories. Therefore, I write. I write because my beloved and extraordinary grandfather liked my writing, and it warms my heart.
how mourning can look like
It is hard to feel grief, to be in mourning, while your life has to go on. I find it hard to be seen while I am grieving, as I am wearing my feelings on my skin. Naturally, I takes nothing to catapult me into sadness. I am still finding the triggers for this loss.
Crying is a natural part of mourning. Previously, I have just cried, not talked to much. However, this is different, because although sudden, it was expected. Since I found out that my granddad would never survive, I have preparing myself for this dire moment, without noticing it. Talking to him about death and his wishes, telling him how I felt and asked how he felt, told him I loved him and reminiced about our adventures. This has given me peace while he was still alive. I started to think to myself, everytime we had been together, would I be okay if I never say him again? A hard thought, but a necessary exercise.
He told me once that living with cancer was like being in constant fear and depression. I hugged him and told him I understood. That stroke me as a hard life, for a man who had always been fearless. Mourning and grieving can take all shapes, and this is nothing I have ever experienced before. Despite missing him, like I will always, I am happy he followed his heart to the very end. He travelled to Havana two weeks before he passed. It’s a valuable lesson – to live while you are alive.
not mourning, nor grieving, is linear
Again, I have known that my grandfather would pass away, which doesn’t make it as surprising, but still shocking. I have cried, but I not not incessantly crying. It might come later. However, I am keeping the triggers I know at bay – photos, videos and messages.
Sometimes, incessant crying is the answer. Other times, it can be a walk with no sign of it. Loss can also lead to other feelings, such as anger (past actions, unresolved feelings), abandonment and guilt (I should be crying but I am not or I never told him this). I haven’t felt these, because we talked so much the past year, in a very honest, non-barrier way. But again, you never know where this process will lead.
For now, it’s one day at a time. Respecting the day I am in.
I am trying to embrace grief as a friend, because my life would be poorer if you hadn’t met and grown up with him. It’s the price I will take any day for having him in my life for almost 35 years.
I haven’t always been my own best friend. I hadn’t started to exercise my ask-why-muscle, you know the why am I feeling this and where does it come from. As we know, putting words to feelings, holding them in our hands and understand them makes big (and small) feelings more bearable.
I am mourning and grieve in your own way, with no expectations or guidelines. At the moment, I am trying to do what helps for the person that I am. I write and reminisce the good stories from the people who knew him.
Until we meet again, stay safe and live, because you are alive.