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When I Listened to What My Grief Was Telling Me

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Most people think of grief as emotionally and mentally taxing. The word itself stems from death, so one must conclude there can’t be anything eloquent to say about it. Yes, death is universal, inevitable and relentless. Though death is inescapable in many ways, the grief that proceeds it doesn’t have to be.

The potency of grief is unfamiliar and the sensation aims directly for the heart. The strangeness shocks the reserves of composure.

The mind wants to walk past this because it’s uncharted territory. There isn’t a map to navigate how to feel the emotions sewed to grief. 

Grief can whack your knees, leaving you to fall to the ground. The bones within your legs can diminish to dust like wood that has turned to ash.

Grief can stain the purest of eyes with rust-ridden tears. The salted water seeping through can climb down your cheeks at anytime.

Just when you think you’re coming around the bend, grief rams you into a pot hole. It forces you to a blindsided halt and to recover at its speed. Not yours.

The words of truth associated with grief inflate like a balloon in your throat. Even speaking of them feels like an allergic reaction because the words swell your tongue, leaving you speechless. Other times, grief vacuums the air out of your lungs, and you’re left to catch your breath.

Grief is like an apple corer to the soul. The wrenching sensation in the stomach tumbles like a Jenga stack after a piece has been pulled out too quickly.

Though almost everybody will encounter the death of a loved one, don’t ever let anyone tell you what it’s supposed to feel like. Don’t ever let someone tell you what you’re feeling is wrong or inaccurate. Your emotions shouldn’t be put under a microscope for others to dissect. Because the minute your emotions become someone else’s science experiment, you feel as if your emotional wellbeing is being picked and analyzed apart.

Here’s how I look at it, though. If death and grief can alter your life, why can’t you change the history of what death and grief can do to a person. Just as it can turn your own life inside out, upside down and backwards, do the same to grief. Give grief a run for its money and show that it won’t cripple you. Not now, not in the future, not ever.

So what exactly does this mean? It means that when you feel the tears losing their grip on your bottom lashes, blink and let them fall. Cry until you feel like you have no more tears left and your eyes sting. Holding back only causes a typhoon of tears to tear apart your soul. Withholding these driblets of water is like purposefully ingesting a toxin while knowing the risks.

When you feel like your knees have melted like candle wax, and you’re unsure on how to regain your stance, try to stand even if you fall. One disappointment to yourself is like 10 points to grief, so keep on standing. 

Speak the unspeakable emotions. Let them cocoon you completely. Wrap them around you like a blanket. Recognize them so all you have to do is look at the emotion in its face and determine if you want to experience it. Get acquainted with what may be in store for you, or it will shred the very best of you like tax forms in paper shredder.

In order to find the good in grief, you have to completely devote yourself to what it’s telling you. You listen to your body when you’re sick, so why not listen to grief when it enters your life. The good in grief isn’t explicitly written out like a contract. The good in grief is like the fine print on the bottom of an agreement form on the internet. No one really reads it unless it benefits them.

Well, I’m here to tell you to read that fine print because it will benefit you. Maybe not at this moment or the next day, but someday the shock and disbelief from the death may be more at home in your past than in your future.

The Mighty is asking the following: What is a part of your or a loved one’s disease, disability or mental illness that no one is aware of? Why is it time to start talking about it? If you’d like to participate, please check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Lead photo source: Thinkstock Images

Originally published: May 27, 2016
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