What I know about grief so far…

It has been one month since my aunt died unexpectedly at the age of 50. At the beginning, while I was still overseas, my brain could not stop narrating as it happened. I needed to write and share and process. I figured this would fast-track my grieving process so I could come out triumphant on the other end. Hah.

And then I came home. My brain shut off. It stopped narrating. It began to grieve. It is still grieving. I wanted to delete this blog and never write down a single word again.

Yet here I am, a month later (blog still intact). I still don’t know much or how to navigate through this with any semblance of a solution. What I do know is…

1. Grief comes and goes in waves.

One moment I am basking in the glory of the sun shining down on my face as I pedal joyfully down the waterfront trail near my house, and the next moment I find myself keeled over with a grief so physically tangible that I can’t breathe or think or speak or believe I could ever possibly think another happy thought again. And then it passes. And then it comes back again. Relentless.

2. I’m angry at everyone.

The UPS delivery man who gives me the stink eye for no reason; the cellphone call-centre employee refusing to reverse my overseas charges; my friends and family. Mr. J. My dog. Angry at myself for not making a bigger effort while she was alive; angry at everyone else for not knowing how horrible this is (but hoping they never have to experience it). I have nowhere to channel my anger, so everyone gets a piece.

3. I’m a clingy angry starfish.

Even though I am angry at a broad spectrum of unsuspecting victims, I also don’t want to be alone. I need understanding and unconditional love and copious amounts of wine and chocolate and promises that whoever I am clinging onto at that moment will never die and leave me to deal with this utter mind fuck again.

4. I have very little empathy for others’ problems.

You got in a fight with your boyfriend? At least you’re alive. Not getting along with your boss? At least you’re alive. Not happy with your husband? CHANGE SOMETHING WHILE YOU ARE ALIVE. Your problems aren’t real problems. If you’re healthy and alive and nobody close to you is dying or dead right now, you have everything you need to build a life you’re happy with. So go do it.

Current status: too tired to think of a fifth one / heading to Wal-mart (wish me luck) / full of ricotta cheese & regrets


4 thoughts on “What I know about grief so far…

  1. HistorianRuby says:

    Grief goes through many phases – I remember needing silence after my Dad died (no music permitted in the car) and of course the anger. I can totally relate, I know people whose families have imploded as they cannot fix the angry words after the death of a loved one. Never having dealt with anything like it before, I used it as a learning experience and tried not to let others’ emotions tip me over the edge. I felt it was my duty to be the neutral support for my mum, I supposed that’s where I channelled any overwhelming energies.
    Best wishes, 50 is too young.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. DeeScribes says:

    When my sister died of brain cancer at the age of 55, I was too busy being supportive for others to allow myself to grieve. Her funeral was the first of 13 funerals I would attend in the next 14 months. Sure, I cried and I was sad but the soul sucking grief didn’t hit for almost a year and a half. Until then, I just floated along going back and forth between “making it through” and “not functioning without someone prodding me along.” I wanted to talk and share stories, because that is how I process. People didn’t want to talk about my memories and loss. It was a lonely time.

    The thing that brought me out of it was my own near-death experience. I’m not recommending that as a way to deal with grief! But the journey helped me realize my purpose wasn’t complete and spurred me into purposeful action.

    This too shall pass, even though it feels like it won’t. Things will never be the same, but you will adjust to a new way. Take the time you need. Recognize your anger, but try not to dwell there forever. Apologize to those you lash out to, and be forgiving of yourself as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Finding My Inner Zen says:

      I’ve thought about your comment quite a few times over the last few days. I can’t even begin to wrap my head around one death, much less 13 and a personal near-death experience. I always knew you were tough…but wow.

      Thank you for sharing your own experience and for always taking the time to extend your kind word and support. It always hits home.


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