Taking the first step to healing: Why should we say hello to grief?
This was one of the first things I wrote shortly after my sister died in 2020.
So this is the first step.
The first step to what you ask? Healing. Actually more like healing and helping. That is the goal of ‘Hello I’m Grieving,’ to be a source of healing and helping others around death. To be completely transparent, I am not a licensed therapist or by no means an expert (well not yet) about death. I am however, a person who has experienced losing people in my life and just about two months ago I had the biggest loss of my life, my sister. Her name is Jennifer, not was but is and always will be.
This is will be one of the many topics we aim to talk about through this outlet, Hello I’m Grieving. For instance, how do you in a moment’s notice move from ‘is’ to ‘WAS? Where do you even start in the grieving process? Or how about these, how do you grieve in the first place? What does it look like? Feel like? How long does it last? Is it okay for me to laugh hysterically one moment, then flip a table over the next? On top of losing someone you love, you lose stability, normalcy, and whatever you used to imagine. The way you pictured your future is forever altered because there is a missing piece.
There are so many questions and topics surrounding death that I have found to be necessary for me to discuss as part of my own grieving process. After experiencing the largest loss of my life, I have been impacted in a way that my perspective on the world will forever be changed.
With this huge shift in perspective and empathy, I invite you on this journey with me. I want to use it for good and to simply start a discussion around grief. By practicing getting out of our comfort zones, these discussions on death and grief can help other people prepare, navigate and heal. All are welcome in this space. Whether you yourself are facing death, a family member, friend, pet or you just want to open yourself up to learn and grow. I want to not only share my experiences, but I want you to share yours.
One of the biggest revelations I have found is that for the most part people are very uncomfortable talking about death. Even in situations where we all know it is coming. That was the case with my sister. We knew it was coming, but yet we did not discuss it. Not really. Why is that? Even saying the word out loud evokes dark images, fear, and sadness. I have to admit it is still hard for me to say. However, the reality is that none of us are exempt from death. It will happen to each and every one of us. We will experience it from people around us, and one day ourselves. One of my goals is to change the narrative around death and make it more approachable to discuss. Why is it that we can’t see the honor, love and yes I dare say it… the HAPPINESS in death, celebrating a beautiful legacy and impact of a person’s life?
I have been using the analogy that we plan for a vacation more than we plan for our last goodbyes and how we want to be remembered. We celebrate the ‘end’ of so many things in our lifetime. We see it as an accomplishment. However, we live this entire life on this planet and when that time comes to an end, we don’t truly celebrate it.
My sister was my rock. She raised me and has been by my side since the moment I was born. She was my best friend and she was the person that I loved the most in this world. Losing her is by far the hardest thing I’ve experienced in my life. There is sadness… a shit ton of sadness and darkness if I’m being completely honest, but there is also light and hope. My sister was my light. In death, there can be light and my goal is to make this a space where we can share our sorrows and also our levity in the myriad of experiences of others. Also, to alter how we view death, celebrate it and to discuss it more.,
Maybe reading this was your first step too. I am honored to grieve alongside you and say hello to grief.
Thank you for helping me take my first step. I invite you to have simple and complicated discussions and share your stories to help change the narrative on grief.
Photo by Lindsay Henwood on Unsplash