Loss messes with us.
Grief messes with us.
No matter if we saw it coming.
No matter how philosophical we are about how finite life and relationships are.
No matter how smart we are, how tough we are, or how far we’ve come: grief and loss are rough on us humans with brains and hearts.
Everyone struggles with grief and loss. Some may show it more visibly than others, but there hasn’t been a human being in the history of the world who has dealt with loss cheerfully and effortlessly.
One of the reasons why loss and grief mess with us so much is because they reset the equation of our lives.
As we go about our lives, we kind of get used to what the deal is. What the parameters are of this existence of ours.
We figure out the rules. We figure out the patterns.
We may do it imperfectly sometimes, and sometimes the rules don’t seem to apply and the patterns don’t seem to hold— but, in the big picture, a large part of what our brains do every day is process information in the context of what it knows to be true about how the world works.
Loss turns all of that on its head.
When someone we love dies, it’s really, really hard to wrap our brains around the fact that we are never, ever going to have a conversation with them again— at least, a conversation like the ones we’ve had with them in the past.
Especially if it’s a person who we’ve known well, over time.
Our brains kind of get used to the idea that, while relationships may change and people may change, we’ll always have another chance to talk to that person.
To share in their journey and their experience.
To think of that opportunity being irretrievably lost kind of breaks our brains.
Though most of us would describe it as breaking our hearts.
To cope with loss is to deal with the fragility of being human.
To grieve is to be reminded of how much we can hurt— even if we think we’ve been too hardened or scarred by life to feel much of anything.
When we experience loss, many well-meaning people will try to list the “good” things about loss.
They want us to hurt less. They care about us. And they often don’t know what else to say.
But those reactions don’t really penetrate to the core of us, at least when a loss is fresh.
The experiences of loss and grief are among the only truly universal experiences.
They remind us that, no matter how alienated and alone we might feel at times, there are some things that truly bind all of humanity together.
Loss doesn’t just stir up sadness in us. It can stir up fear. It can stir up anger. It can trigger a feeling that we are very lost in our own journeys— and an urgency to find our way back to the “right” path, while there’s still time.
All of that is normal.
Grieving takes the time it takes.
It can’t be rushed, it can’t be disrespected, it can’t be manipulated, it can’t be dissociated forever.
Letting yourself grieve is letting yourself be human.
It’s letting yourself be just like the rest of us.
We’ve got you.
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