I believe that grief is an inevitable process we all experience that can teach us a lot about ourselves and others. In my eighteen years of existence, I have experienced this heart-rending process, having lost four siblings, a grandmother, and my best friend. The feeling that accompanies the loss of a loved one may vary for individuals. For me, I felt alone, lost, sad, and miserable.
My grandmother’s death devastated me. Once vibrant, I withdrew into a shell and became really depressed. My grades decreased, and this led me to self doubt. I was really lost and could not understand my own thoughts. I would sometimes close my eyes and rush headlong into the darkness within me, the darkness that might promise some relief. I stopped going out with friends, stopped attending church, was always miserable and sad, and ate very little. This heavily impacted all aspects of my life: emotional, mental, educational, physical, social, and even spiritual. I experienced the same depth of despair and the same depression after the deaths of my siblings and my best friend. I asked myself why they had to die so young, but there were never answers. I had to find a way to cope and eventually let the pain diminish while allowing the memories to live on.
Even though I was devastated, I saw the pain grief brought to my mother, and I made a commitment that I would cherish her and make her proud. I vowed to become responsible for my actions, and I matured from someone who was always provided for to someone who provided for my mother by staying out of trouble at school and getting good grades. By beginning the process of coping with my grief, I learned that I am strong and value the people I love.
I also learned that experiencing grief brings families and friends closer together. Before the deaths of my grandmother and siblings, my father rarely talked to us about his day. After their deaths, he shared with us his daily experiences. Family discussions revealed how many memories we had of my grandmother, and my parents talked more openly about their family backgrounds. I also learned who my friends really were because they were the ones who called, stopped by, and made themselves available during my times of grief. These people became my life long friends.
Everyone experiences loss which leads to grief, and grieving is a lifelong process. Although the agonizing pain of loss diminishes over time, it never completely goes away. But, do we learn anything from this process? Experiencing grief on numerous occasions has helped me to understand the process a little more and deal with it a little better. I believe that grief is inevitable and wrenching, but I know it also teaches us to value and reflect on those we love who are living, as well as cherish the memories of those we have lost.
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