Since I already spoke about shame in an earlier entry, I am now going to tackle what I believe to be the second worst emotion. Grief. We all experience it. Whether it’s the loss of a relationship, a place, a time, or of a person. Grief comes in many shapes and sizes It can come in the form of a break-up. It can come in the form of moving out. It can come in the form of growing up. It can come in the form of the death of a loved one. Someone or something that once mattered deeply to you is now gone forever. There is no way to return to the past and return to what is lost. The only thing to do is to keep moving forward, remember the happy memories fondly, deal with the painful emotions, and let the wound scab over. Like any wound, it will heal with time. It will start out raw, eventually fade, and then become a scar. You just have to learn to live with it. You learn to ignore it for the most part. Life goes on, just without that person who once mattered so much. So it goes.
It wasn’t until college that I first really experienced grief and there is no way to sugarcoat the emotion. It’s horrible. I lost two great uncles and a great aunt by the time I hit Sophomore Year. Then my Grandfather passed away in the March of my Sophomore Year and a year and a day later my Grandmother died. It still feels strange to know that they’re never coming back. Losing them wasn’t the hard part. The funeral wasn’t the hard part. Seeing all my extended family wasn’t the hard part. The hard part, for me, was afterwards. Holidays with empty seats. Going to services and having nobody to joke around with. Working on homework late at night and not hearing my father screaming at my nearly deaf grandmother on the phone. Those were the moments that hit me the hardest. It’s different for everyone. Mostly, I’ve distanced myself from the emotions. It’s not like I saw them on a daily basis anyway. I don’t know if it’s ever truly hit me that they’re gone.
But the hardest experience I had with grief honestly came from graduating High School. Losing touch with my summer camp friends. Losing touch with my High School friends. Getting fired from my first job and losing myself. Losing my grandfather. Losing my grandmother. Losing my childhood innocence in general. It was a great four years of self-growth, change, and character development. But that’s not to say that it didn’t come without a price. It was often a long and painful process. I remember the summer between my Sophomore and Junior year I rewatched Toy Story 3. At the end of the movie I could not stop sobbing. What started out as crying over Woody and Buzz soon morphed into mourning the loss of my entire childhood. To the innocence I can never replace. To the people I’d mistakenly believed would stick around forever. To the version of myself I can never be again.
Grief is a tricky thing. You can’t really ignore it. That will only make it worse. You just have to feel it. You have to work with it. You have to accept it. And then you have to let it slowly heal over time. Everyone responds to the experience differently and everyone heals at a their own pace. There’s no speeding up the process. The reason I talk about this today is because of the fictional character that died a few days ago in my book. Evidently, the next book in the series tackles the topic of grief head-on. I’m expecting some hardcore feelings both from the book and from my memories as I continue reading. I just wanted to talk about my own personal experience with the emotion before delving further into the book.