Saturday, May 5, 2012


Grief changes so much. So much of who you are, who you become. Your thoughts. Your actions. Your every move. Whether we want it to or not - it effects us in ways that we never imagine that it will. Just when we think that we're over a certain part of grief - it comes back and hits us at full force. Just when we think that we're seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, when we see love and this wonderful thing called hope - a horrible cloud of darkness roll over and doesn't let us see that light.

Grief is suffocating. It drowns us. The pain that it causes is unimaginable to those who have never experienced a deep loss. The fear and uncertainty that it imposes is overwhelming.

It makes us forget, makes us angry. Makes us feel sadness and hurt more than we ever think we will feel. In that brief moment when we see the light - it makes us love deeper. More appreciative of what we have. More kind and caring. But when that light isn't there - it's a dark, suffocating friend.

It changes our interests. Makes us become uninvolved. Those things that we once lived for and loved doing are now a thing in the past for awhile. They don't seem to have a purpose anymore. Finding new things to love is very much out of the question for awhile as nothing seems enjoyable. How can it?

Grief changes your every emotion. At times we're left unfeeling. Numb. Wondering what this life might possibly have in store for us. Upset because we're unable to cry, to laugh, to hurt, to rejoice. Unable to be happy or sad and we desperately wish to feel. But then when grief causes us to feel? It causes us internal pain that physically hurts, emotional distress that frightens us, overwhelming urges to cry and scream and shout. But those cries and screams and shouts don't even do justice to the intense excruciating internal heartbreak that we are experiencing. No matter how hard we cry - how loud we shout.... it almost doesn't even feel worth it to exert the energy because it can't possibly convey the message we are trying to express. So when we aren't numb - we pray we are. We pray desperately for some relief of emotion because it become unbearable. It's a cycle. A cycle that does not end.

It is always one extreme or another. The frightening part about it - it is 110% beyond our control. How we feel from not only one day to the next, but one moment to the next is completely unpredictable.
The emotions that we experience are bipolar. One moment we can be laughing and enjoying ourselves - but in the next moment we have tears streaming down our faces because a memory is brought up by one single word or sentence. By an action by another. We can be sad, but in the next moment burst out into laughter because of something someone says.

But one thing that doesn't change... even if we are in a moment of bliss - is that we're always hurting. Always lonely. Always missing something that absolutely cannot be replaced. Always thinking about that one special person in our life that should be there at any given moment. Sure, some times are better than others - but there is always an internal hurt.

Grief is such an unknown territory for many. The feelings associated with grief are not quite new feelings - but they are feelings that are intensified to a very sensitive and new level. This causes us to hold things in. To internalize many things because we don't know how to deal with it. We often cannot find the right words to say out loud because there simply ARE NOT words to convey how we feel. This causes bursts of extreme sadness with tears erupting from our eyes one day at the grocery store because we ran across our husbands/loved ones favorite candy bar....
extreme guilt when we wonder if there was more that we could have done at any point of time
and moments of pure anger when someone does something that makes us mad even if it has nothing to do with our loss.... we bottle up anger when we're mad about the person that we lost.... but it turns into anger at another person even if they didn't do anything, or even anger at God.

All of these can be equally as bad.... but anger tends to get me the most. I don't know how to properly express being angry... I'm not an angry person. But I find myself oftentimes very upset and mad because my husband is gone. Because we are not happy together like we should be. Because we are not enjoying marriage. Because he is not here to help me through. Because he. Is. Gone. I internalize this anger like no other emotion and it often times erupts at people unsuspecting. My voice raises once and it's like the snap of a finger - I'm a completely different person. A person that I do not know or recognize. I'm yelling and screaming and becoming deeply hurt. I later regret it and it turns into guilt. And then I'm terribly upset because I cannot control my feelings.

A cycle. It's always a cycle.

Grief tests everything that we believe. Everything that we KNOW to be true. It causes us to second guess everything. Every action. Every thought. It tests our memory. Our faith. Our love. Our strength. Our hope. Everything.

It is exhausting. Grief takes everything out of you.... After the loss of a loved one that hits you really deep, you're always tired. Your emotions are always running high. Being around people takes so much effort. After a couple of hours you're more than ready to be by yourself to meditate. After being around a crowd of people - you feel like you've run a marathon. I can't quite explain it - but it takes more effort than you can even imagine to be around someone....

Grief causes unneeded fear. Fear of the future. Of moving forward. Of enjoying new things. Of forgetting. Fear of the unknown. We're scared to take a next step in our lives for fear that we will fall back into a pattern of deep grief. Fear that we will be lonely forever. Fear that we will never be happy again. Fear that our grief has scarred us so much that we cannot continue. It's hard to move forward when we're leaving our deeply beloved behind. So much known. So much uncertainty.

I reiterate that this kind of grief cannot truly be understood unless one has experienced a very, very deep loss.
These are feelings that we feel on a daily basis. Does it get better with time? I'm sure it does. They say that time heals. I've heard many stories from those who have moved forward and are living fulfilling lives. But it is different for every person. The timeframe of grief is undetermined and impossible to predict.

For me - it's been 5 months since my biggest loss - but I've also experienced 4 other losses within less than a year. I haven't had a chance to grieve with one. I've really had no opportunity to grieve, let alone heal. I moved home for 6-8 months hoping to be able to grieve hard and begin to heal - that's hardly been the case. Little did I know I'd be losing 3 more people I love dearly.

I've spent most of my time anticipating death of those I knew were getting ready to leave their mortal lives. It all seems too much to comprehend. The losses are much to immense. I am trying to give this time. I am trying to be patient, but I am not dealing well with my grief. With my losses. My body is putting up a wall to protect me and it's hindering my grieving and mourning. I say that I am doing okay under all the circumstances - and sometimes I really feel like I am handling things well - but it's moments when I grieve hardest that really show me just how much I am internalizing everything. Just how I am NOT grieving well. Ask people around me - I hardly ever show my emotion. I hardly ever talk about it. I am trying to move forward. But moving forward without allowing myself to grieve DOES NOT HAPPEN. I am realizing this. I'm learning. I'm trying to open up. I'm trying to express myself at every given opportunity. I have become SO closed off to everything. everyone. This is completely unlike me because I used to be so expressive and always shared how I felt.
When I feel sadness, I want to express that. When I am feeling guilt - I want to understand why. When I'm angry, I want a healthy outlet to let out my anger. When I'm hurting, I want my friends and family to be there to hold me. To listen to me. to cry with me. To support me, love me, and reassure me. To tell me that it is okay to feel the way that I'm feeling.

There really isn't a great way to end this except for saying that this has become my life. It will not always be my life - but it is for right now. How can it not be? And this is the life of so, so many. More than you probably realize - because you see our outward appearance and facade, not what we are processing and dealing with on the inside.


  1. very true blog... if you want any tips on healthy ways to express yourself I may have actually been taught every single one on earth ;) I feel I can relate to a lot of your emotions from 3 losses I have experienced, although in very different ways. I know I can't say anything to take your pain away, I wish I could; I'm sure you've heard this poem before... I've really only truly seen it in the past few months:
    One night I had a dream--
    I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord
    and across the sky flashed scenes from my life.
    For each scene I noticed two sets of footprints,
    one belonged to me and the other to the Lord.
    When the last scene of my life flashed before me,
    I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
    I noticed that many times along the path of my life,
    there was only one set of footprints.
    I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest
    and saddest times in my life.
    This really bothered me and I questioned the Lord about it.
    "Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,
    you would walk with me all the way,
    but I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life
    there is only one set of footprints.
    "I don't understand why in times when I needed you most,
    you should leave me."
    The Lord replied, "My precious, precious child,
    I love you and I would never, never leave you
    during your times of trial and suffering.
    "When you saw only one set of footprints,
    it was then that I carried you."

    Here if ever you want someone to listen or share - in terms of emotion believe me nothing - absolutely nothing - will freak me.
    Lots of love xxx

  2. Just don't let grief win -- wish I were able to take you out for lunch or go on a walk. This too shall pass. <3 Keep looking ahead for the great things you are looking to do and working on. Your writing is truly beautiful, keep letting the grief and overcoming feelings out. Much love to you and your families. <3

  3. Nikki - I'm not sure what made me look at this particular post today but I did. I noticed it was written the day my dad passed away & while I usually keep up to date on your postings, I realized that I had missed this one until now. I really just want you to know that I am grateful for your words and thoughts. While I mostly feel very alone in this grief, aside from what my immediate family must also be feeling, you've helped me realize that, while our grief may be related to different circumstances, similar feelings often come to the surface. It is comforting, even though sad, to know that someone can understand what it feels like to be a different person, irrational at times, fearful, insecure, angry, hurt, etc. Just know that, while I may not understand your exact thoughts and feelings since it's different losing a spouse verses a parent, you definitely aren't alone. If you ever want to talk to someone or justify how you feel, know that I am here, likely experiencing at least some of the things you may be. Thanks for unintentionally helping me. <3 - Courtney M