I was asked, in not so many words, what grief feels like by a person who had never been impacted by the loss of someone so close to him or her. I’m not really sure if I have the description right. Nor do I feel I can speak on the behalf of everyone who has lost a loved one, whether suddenly or expected. Even so, I can try.
The death of my husband by suicide was the most painful thing in my life thus far. Nothing else has touched it. If you have never been impacted by something similar, then you have no idea how hard it is to go through. Imagining or hypothesizing pales in comparison.
How accurately can I describe grief?
Grief is an assault on your body and your mind. Grief is like a bat being slammed into your ribs. Grief is hitting the ground so hard you feel you should have died, but somehow didn’t.
It hurts when you move or think. Time heals it, but goodness does it take a while. And sometimes you move the wrong way and you’re back on your knees, clutching your side. You wonder why someone didn’t put you out of your misery.
Memories and triggers are the small jabs that don’t seem like a big deal, except your body still aches, so every extra touch feels like a dagger. One day you’ll be able to look back and smile at some things or be able to talk about that person without feeling like crying, but not right away.
Death is not a one-time event. It’s a pivoting point and grief is the after math. For better or worse, you are different because of it. Life is not the same. There is no continuation. It creates a line in your timeline. There is only ever before and after. There is the old times and the new normal.
Grief is a harsh wound that is slow to heal. It’s the scar left by the death of someone you love.
In fact, I bet if you were to cut me open, you’d find evidence of its existence on my heart.