How do you handle grief?

Grief is something that touches us all. In life, we lose people we love whether through death or other types of loss. We mourn the loss of relationships, the loss of love and the loss of life. We are saddened by the fact that someone is taken from us too soon because their time on Earth is never long enough. We wish we could’ve reached out to them sooner, to let them know how much we cared. Then, when it’s too late, we are left with sadness, regret, pain and a myriad of other feelings that are just hard to manage.

My recent loss

I have recently lost a treasured family member. I hadn’t seen her in years, but my Aunt Bev was responsible for some of my favorite childhood memories. She was always smiling and joking. She had the most beautiful laugh and she was the kind of mom you wished you had. She was a genuinely good person who had a difficult lot in life, but she was always there to offer a kind word or a hug to someone else in need.

She was the salt of the Earth. She had faced tragedy in her life but she never let it get her down. She lost two of her children before their time. It was heart-breaking for her, but she carried on. I hope that now she is gone, she is able to be with them. I want them to be reunited in heaven. I want to believe that is what happens, but I don’t know and that upsets me too.

How do I handle grief?

I allow the grief to enter into my spirit. I let it live there as long as it needs to. I cry and a I get angry. I go through the Kubler Ross stages of grief. Some stages are quicker than others. I know I feel powerless and this time I feel as though I’m losing ties to my family in the northeast. I have lost countless family members since I moved to Texas in 2001 and I haven’t been able to go home to say good-bye. My spirit has been there, but my body has not.

I feel immense guilt over this. I feel like I’m losing my entire family and a part of myself. My heritage means so much to me. As an Italian-Portuguese woman, my family is everything. I had to move away for a variety of reasons and I can’t afford to move back. Nor would I, but sometimes, I miss being there.

I really do.

The real guilt

As my parents age and are ill, I feel as though I won’t be able to be there for them when they need me. This hurts me deeply. I don’t know how to reconcile it. I don’t know if I can, or if I really want to.

You see, when I was younger, I took on a responsibility role that I was not ready or prepared for. I helped parent my parents and my younger siblings. When I left Massachusetts, I left that behind and am glad of that. I didn’t want the responsibility and sometimes resented it. Now, I find that there are times I miss it, but I don’t miss it enough to take the mantle back up.

It’s not my burden to bear.

What does this mean for grief in the larger sense?

Grief wraps itself up in a plethora of other emotions. We need to isolate them out and separate them. We need to honor each emotion, feel them and let them go as they need to. It takes time to recover from grief. We need to be compassionate and kind to ourselves, to let ourselves take the time to heal. Grief is a tough life lesson, but we can learn from it and become stronger and more resilient.

Final thoughts on grief

I know I am not alone in my grief. Many people feel grief every day and for some, it can be debilitating. If you struggle, know that you are not alone. You are loved and accepted. I love and accept you. Thank you for letting me share my grief with you here. It helps.