Last year on Halloween, my father passed away. Upon hearing the news, I felt like I was transported to another planet - a cruel new reality where the people you love the most have suddenly vanished.
Grief alters reality. ‘Grief brain’, a fog that sets in after experiencing a loss, can feel disorienting. Suddenly, time has no boundaries and mortality demands most of your attention without your consent. One year later, here are a few of my reflections on the process of grieving.
I’ve learned that the depth of the pain can seem boundless, an empty and bottomless ache, but little by little, pain and love find a way to coexist.
I’ve learned that grief cannot be alleviated but it can be carried. It can be held.
I’ve learned that the experience of grief is as unique as the experience of love in any relationship.
I’ve learned that there is no timeline, no stages, no pattern. Grief is not linear. Waves of tears, numbness, warm feelings of love and even joy may show up at any time.
I’ve learned that overtime, the loss is integrated, not overcome.
Grief can be lonely, but it doesn’t have to be. A support system and a safe space has helped me explore this new, uncharted territory.
One year later: I’ve learned the importance of embracing whatever brings me joy. At this point in my life, I feel inspired to live in the moment and surround myself with others who know how to do the same; appreciating experiences of all forms. I’ve learned that there is so much beauty and comfort in connection. Filling that lonely space from the inside out has been such a humbling journey.
Staff therapist: Stephanie Sandoval, AMFT
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