I’ve been trying to discuss the topic of grief for awhile now. I’ve lost a few family members and I recently lost my step-father to interstitial lung disease. The months that ensued it felt as though I was grieving all of my family members all over again. My previous encounters with loss shattered my vague notion of death at an early age.
Dealing with grief in a way has forced me to step back and re-examine how I deal with the things in my life, especially the difficult matters in my life. It has shown me that emotions don’t just go away, they show up. They show up in your body, sleep, and thoughts. They linger and show up in a multitude of ways. I’ve had to be honest with myself and point out exactly where grief has been showing up for me. After much reflection, I can say that my grief had been showing up in my sleep. When my step-father was hospitalized, I couldn’t sleep and when he passed away sleep was the furthest thing on my mind. I say this to say that despite our best efforts to ignore the pain and emotions, it will continue to show up in our lives unless we face them head on.
My step-fathers passing was sudden. None of us were ready. We never expected his condition to worsen so quickly. His loss created a painful space for us and we have had to learn how to breathe in some peace to this space. I use dua’s (prayers) to send my peace. I keep him in all of my dua’s and honor him by giving charity in his name. This has been my way of both coping with his loss and honoring his memory.
I’ve been prioritizing spending time with my emotions and creating a safe space for myself to talk through my thoughts and feelings. I created a space that would bring about my healing and allow me to come to terms with my own loss. In my prayers, I focus on sending my peace to my loved ones and this has calmed my heart. Time has taught me that we never fully get over our loss, we just learn how to cope with it.
I came across a quote by Jamie Anderson recently and I’ve held tightly to it ever since. I’ll leave it here with you in hopes that it can bring you as much peace of mind as it has brought me. “Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give, but cannot. All that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go.”