health, mental health

Dealing With Grief Nearly A Decade Later

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Does the grief ever go away?

Last week, I was thinking about my deceased mother. I think about her and my deceased father every day, but this week it has been constant thoughts about my mom. 

I’ve been crying as I did as a little girl that whole year after she died. That last time I saw her, not knowing it would be the last time. For some reason, it tormented me last week. 

I think I was 9 when she died. Maybe I didn’t grief her death properly or at all. Maybe all those years of alcohol hazes and drug comas only covered what I truly felt. Now that I’ve stopped drinking altogether, those repressed feelings are coming back up. 

How do you grief in the right way? As a child, the grief cycle isn’t common knowledge and it wasn’t like my family was checking to see if I was completing it. 

It’s been nearly 25 years since my mom died and I still feel like I am grieving her death. Does the grief ever go away?

How Should You Properly Grieve?

The way I dealt with my mother and father’s deaths were far from anything healthy. At first, I used writing as a way for me to let those emotions out. Poetry and journaling seemed to help as first. Yet, since I did not grief at the time of their deaths, those repressed feelings followed me into adulthood.

I reacted wildly, using sex, drugs, and alcohol to cover my pain. As I’ve aged, I’ve recognized that it was a coverup for what I really felt. As I said, I never went through the grieving process, but what even is it and where am I stuck at?

You should never think that there is a certain timeframe to grieve in. It’s not like you get over losing someone you love in a month or two. It will take time. For you, it may take an entire year, or even 25 years, to get through the entirety of the grief.

Here are some other things you should consider in the midst of grief:

Remember You Don’t Have To Constantly Be Sad

People constitute grief with sadness and tears. That can be part of it, but it is not the only part. There are many times where you may feel happy when you think about your loved one. That’s ok. You are allowed to have happiness and joy even though you are grieving loss. There are so many emotions to grief including anger and fear. Acknowledge those feelings, too.

Pay Attention To Your Needs

Neglecting yourself through a period of grief is common. It’s important, though, to take the time to keep up with yourself. Eat a good meal. Try to sleep as much as possible. Check in mentally. You may need to go to counseling to ensure your mental state stays in good working order.

The 5 Parts Of Grief

First, many people are in a state of shock, making them come to the conclusion that the death is not real or whoever is telling them is lying. This is called denial. I don’t recall there being any denial in knowing my mom or dad was dead.

Second, anger tends to come out, whether that is towards the person who tells you about the death or medical personnel. I went through a period of anger, mainly at God for taking my parents away from me, especially my mom. This was where I was for an entire year, crying out to God and asking him why he allowed my mom to die.

Third, people start to try to make a deal or bargain for that person to come back from the dead. I vaguely remember asking God to give my mom back. It was mainly a mantra of why he took her in the first place.

Fourth, is the part that I know all too well: depression. This developed after my mom’s death and has kept it’s hold on me ever since. It is completely healthy to go through this as a part of grieving and to feel sad for an extended amount of time.

Fifth, is the point in which you feel you can accept the death and all it means. It has taken me almost two decades to come accept my parent’s deaths. I contribute that to wisdom that comes with age.

So, I guess I did go through all the stages of grief. It took me a long time. I never reached out to anyone and at one point even almost killed myself. The thing that I was reminded of from last week’s sad memories of my mom is that the pain may never go away, and even if you cry for a whole week about a decade-long death, it’s ok.

Death brings pain and sadness. The pain never goes away but time allows us to handle it better each passing moment.

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