There are many similiarities in the way people deal with grief, but overwhelmingly, grief is a very individual experience. Lately I have heard many people asking for advice on how to process their grief or indeed how to go on living with the seemingly unbearable pain of loss. Many are often wanting reassurance that what they are feeling is normal. They want to know if and how it changes. They sometimes want to know strategies on how to move forward. They want to know if there is a timeframe. They want to know how it is they will ever feel joy again. These answers will always vary.
Here is how my grief has looked and will continue to look. It may be similiar to others. It may be completely different. What it does highlight is that it is disorganised, untimely, sometimes static and sometimes everchanging….but it can only ever be yours.
Grief to me
It is screaming so hard that you thought you might die or wish that you could.
It is that stabbing pain at the sudden intrusion to your daily walk
It is avoiding certain people
It is going to certain people
It is avoiding certain places
It is going to certain places
It is smiling at a past memory
It is gasping for air at a past memory
It is throwing things in anger
It is crying tears of joy for the happiness you see in your childrens eyes
It is heartache in the pit of your stomach camoflaged by a smile
It is snide remarks about others that you say only to yourself
It is picking up those around you
It is being picked up
It is rejoicing in a new life
It is fear
It is a gazillion cups of tea
It is hating some songs
It is loving more deeply
It is surprising yourself with laughter
It is holding a little bit tighter
It is forgiving more quickly
It is holding a grudge
It is walking at night not caring if you are safe
It is dreading a certain day, a time and a season
It is feeling joy like you never thought you would
It is hoping
It is all consuming
It is unending
It is a sole source of inspiration
It is mine
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I can’t thank you enough for sharing your grief and publishing this post.
My husband and I experienced a miscarriage in November- and I can just resonate with so many of the feelings you’ve described. When others have made me feel ‘nutty’, selfish and negative, you have made me feel so very normal.
I acknowledge that a miscarriage is hard for people to understand if they haven’t experienced it. Your post finally made me feel like someone understands.
It must have been a hard post to write, but thank you.
Oh Jackie I am so sorry for your loss. I had actually been wondering how you were going since meeting you last year. And of course you can never be “too nutty, selfish or negative” where grief is concerned. Take care and I wish you every happiness. x
Beautifully written xxxxx
Thanks Heidi. I should also have written that it is about finding out that your friends that you thought were already amazing are even more so xxx
Ahhhh grief….it has honestly been with me so long that I can never remember a time without it xx
And yet how amazingly you live your life xx
It certainly is.
After finding my youngest son in his bedroom crying after finding a photo of his beautiful cousin Ava it reminded me that adults arent the only ones who grieve in silence. After a chat i realised how many memories he still had and was afraid of loosing. It reminded me about the importance of a chat. xx
Beautiful boy xx
Another special from the heart piece by you. I’ve thought a lot about you, your husband and family over the past few months. As I watch my little boy grow, I’ve thought that we just never know what path our life journey will take and with that how one would cope with an unthinkable life altering experience such as yours. I have wondered if many people have asked you what your baby girl was like, or have they been too afraid. You are in my thoughts and through your blog you have shared more than just words. Miss Meg x
Thankyou for your gorgeous words Meg. Certainly some people find it easier to talk about her than others. But she had gorgeous fair skin, strawberry blond hair (yes a little red head to match her eldest bother) and the most beautful big eyes. She was always smiling, so incredibly brave and such a little fighter. xxx
I found myself pulling the car over on the weekend, the tears were coming too strongly for it to be safe to keep driving. Grief never leaves you, and your words here are so beautiful and so true. You’re an amazing, beautiful woman Martine x
and sometimes it rears itself at the worst possible times! Thankyou for your kind words. xx
Such a beautiful, poignant post Martine.
For me, grief is when many many years later that random that leads you back to a memory, every single day. It doesn’t hurt in quite the same way, but it is still there.
so true Kate x
I just wanted to comment to let you know how moved I am by your words. Also, thankful x
thankyou Kiri x
Grief, pain etc there are our friends. Because I can feel happiness for the presence of them. What do you think?
Your words moved me yet I’ve not had to experience grief like you, or so many others have. A very dear friend of mine has though and lost her baby on Sept 12 last year. We can really only communicate via email since she lives overseas but I know she has struggled with grief. In those blocks of silence when she doesn’t email, I feel she must be struggling with her tangible pain and I just wish I was able to see her find some peace. Maybe there isn’t any. As you said, the experience is different for everyone. The single word “grief” is so inadequate for explaining how deep, broad and persistent the actual experience really seems to be.
This is a very nice post. I can now be more merrier when grief tries to make me sad.
Thanks for such an inspiring post.
I have recently been learning a lot more about what my mum went through after she gave birth to a stillborn little girl 37 years ago. The nightmare that she was forced to lived through, after carrying her baby girl inside of her for over 8 months, is something that I find impossible to comprehend. She was not able to hold her precious baby or even look at her little face after she was born. Martine, your description of grief paints a clearer picture in my mind of what my mum would have & is more than likely still feeling to this day. To me is just seems cruel, that people like her & yourself are forced to deal with the heartache of losing a child, it doesn’t make any sense.
Kylie, I am so sorry your mum had to go through that too. I certainly think we are much better these days at understanding the importance for parents to see and hold their babies, even if it is only for a short time. xx
Thank you for sharing your words. I just found this today, sitting in the midst of what feels like unbearable pain. While I do not have children and cannot imagine the pain of loosing one, I have been deeply touched by loss. My fiance sustained a brain injury two years ago, and while he is still here physically he remains unable to do anything for himself and cannot communicate. I can see and touch him, but I no longer have him. It is comforting to know that the conflicting feelings I have are felt by others. Thanks again for sharing.
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Wow, everything you wrote is everything i feel or have felt over the past 8 and half yrs since my son passed away at 4mths of age……….thank you for putting it into words for others who dont get that you dont “just get over it”
Natalie, thankyou so much. It is sometimes a bit scary putting so much of yourself ‘out there’ when it comes to something so personal but I do know how important it is to feel understood when it comes to grief. And really only those that have been there have any idea, so I thank you for reading and I am so glad it resonated with you. Take care x
Even though you know there are so many others dealing with the same thing, yet sometimes you feel so alone so again i thank you. Xx
Yes Natalie, grief can be very lonely sometimes so it is always good to know there are others who can relate. x