“I’m sorry for your loss” is a phrase that I have heard many times growing up. How do you reply to that? I still don’t know. I smile and look away. When you lose someone close to you, no matter what people say, it cannot eliminate the pain. There are no words that can heal you.
Growing up, grief and I have always been familiar. Grief is one of the darkest and painful emotions to feel, however, it’s a fundamental part of growth. Grief has become a part of me, those who know me well enough, recognise it’s presence when they greet me. When you grow up in grief, you are never just thinking about yourself. You are thinking about what this person could have done if they were still alive today. You feel like you are constantly under pressure to live the years that they lost. Some people are lucky, they are blessed in life to not experience a death of a loved one until they are well into their adulthood. I am not one of those people. I have witnessed and looked into the eyes of my dying loved ones more times than I can count and with each loss carries its own excruciating pain.
Grief changes you, you are never the same person you were before they died. Standing next to someone you love, knowing that they are soon to leave this world as they slowly disintegrate before your eyes and accepting your lack of control changes you. It hits you right to the core and puts everything into perspective. Survivors guilt is real. For the rest of your life, you are constantly thinking that you are never doing enough with the time that you have. You are constantly thinking that life is not fair, why are you still here and they are not.
When you lose someone who has had such an impact on your life in more ways than your mind can even begin to summarise is traumatising, no doubt. Here’s the thing about loss; it never gets easier you just learn to live your days differently. Nobody teaches you how to deal with grief because dealing with grief is something that cannot be taught.
I think the hardest thing was, and still is, trying to picture the rest of your life without them.
You know that as long as you are alive, a piece of them will always be too.