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Grief Has No Manners

Here’s my experience of grief, I’m sure many of you can relate.

Death comes to us all.

It’s the only certainty in the craziness of life, and the one thing that connects us. No matter what we look like, where we live, how often we meditate or work out, at some stage, each of us will exit the physical world as quickly as we arrived.

From a logical perspective, we know that death is not a lottery.

If we talk about it, we don’t increase our chances of being chosen. But despite all of this, there is still so much silence surrounding death, quite literally. People often say nothing to someone who is grieving, for fear of saying the wrong thing. We all navigate our way through the trenches of loss and grief at some stage in our lives, so it’s important to talk about it and reach out to others. Even if we don’t get the words entirely right, it’s better than silence.

Here’s my experience of grief, I’m sure many of you can relate.

When my father died seven months ago, the words “I’m sorry, your father passed away thirty minutes ago shot through my body like a bolt of lightning in the sky. Naively, even though I knew his death was imminent, deep down there was part of me that thought I was immune or that somehow it would never quite reach me. As my heart began to open so wide with vulnerability it physically ached, I responded by momentarily closing myself down and hiding my emotions from the world.


Unfortunately, the shock is just the beginning.

Then grief slowly sets in, in all its glory. But it can be difficult to express. Sometimes we’re so disconnected from ourselves that we can’t even feel our pain, or just don’t want to; we’re numb. It’s no surprise therefore that releasing our grief gets missed off the to-do list altogether. But it always finds us in the end.

Since my father passed, I have realised, yet again, that grief has no timescales, rules, guidelines or manners. I liken grief to that person who unexpectedly knocks at the door, invites themselves in and then doesn’t know when to leave.

Grief continues to outstay its welcome.

It catches us off guard, sneaks up behind us and pushes us over when we least expect it. We can be laughing one moment, but then a song, smell or memory can trigger us to burst into tears, curled up in the fetal position the next.

No matter how old someone was when they died or how relieved we are that they’re free from suffering, the physical presence of someone is what’s missed most.

Yes, time does heal, in its own way, but we never forget.

We just learn to live without the person we love. However, knowing that others care and understand makes all the difference to our experience and the grief we feel.

Despite the pain that death and grief cause, I wouldn’t change any of it.

I am grateful that I was able to tell my father that I loved him and say goodbye. I’m thankful that he heard my children’s voices one last time. Complete strangers, friends and family reached out to me, hugged me, supported me and helped me in ways they may never know. For them, I have deep gratitude. You see, even in death, there is always a blessing, and recognising this helps us to move through our grief much easier.

So as much as we prefer to ignore the subject of death, we desperately need to discuss it.

By doing this, the fear of our own mortality is also lessened. We think we have forever, but we don’t. Life is for living now. Right now. In knowing that the only guaranteed moment is this one, what would you like to change in your life? Maybe you could honour the memory of those you have loved and lost by channelling your pain to live the life you truly deserve, that’s what they would wish for you too.

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Sarah Willoughby

Sarah Willoughby is an Author, Speaker, Spiritual Mentor, Reiki Practitioner and Intuitive Energy Healer. Passionate about encouraging people to reconnect with themselves and love who they are, Sarah is committed to empowering each person she works with to heal, be peaceful and transform their life. Sarah’s forthcoming book on self-love through secondary infertility, is motivated by a desire to be a voice for others, help remove the silence and provide hope to those navigating this difficult path.

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Ruth E Barnhart
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Ruth E Barnhart

Nothing in life prepares you for losing someone you know and love. The love of my life died 34 years ago, and I still have moments when it make me feel like it just happened. It was a wonderful 26 years together, we laughed all the the time even through problems. In a way I am looking forward to my death so I can see my husband again. But I will hate leaving my children, grandchildren, and great grand children behind, as well as about 15 friends. ruth

Nance
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I believe it’s a different kind of pain when you lose a Mother, Father etc., vs one who is/was your Soulmate. And, that’s who I lost. We knew from the beginning we were meant for one another, for it took almost 2 yrs. to finally meet. From that day, we were together for 36 years, 24/7 365. We were 28 yrs old & I lost my Soulmate on 4/30/17, in a month’s time, she was gone. I helped raise her dtr. from the age of 7 & bonded with her son, our Grandson, who is now 25. I had her for 36 Beautiful year’s, but I have never felt so lost over her sudden death. Over the year I’ve dealt with this grief literally alone. There’s much to my story, too much for this space. All I know is I never felt so lost as I do now..

Robyn
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Robyn

I loved my Dad with all my heart. He was one of the kindest men I had the privilege to know. He had been battling ill health for a time, so when he finally passed I was relieved for him. What I have found hardest is the breakup of my marriage. The man I truly loved for 30 plus years running off with someone younger. And yet I have been told there is nothing worse than grief from death & divorce doesn’t compare.
At least with death one gets sympathy & support & there is no division of marital property. Comments welcome. Thanks, Robyn, Cairns.

Elham Nammour
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Elham Nammour

Perfectly explained 👍
Grief has no manners nor death has rules.

Ramona
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Ramona

It’s hard to let go ,when you didn’t know you had to ,cause the one that was taken from me was my son ,he was murder on mother’s day May 10 2015 ,so l didn’t get the chance to tell him l love you for the last time or hold him while he was dieing ,or Comfort him and tell him am here my son ,everybody’s grief and pain is not different 💔he left me with a wife and two children a son that he didn’t get the chance to take him to his first day of kindergarten or his daughters sweet fifteen or graduation,so am still trying to comprehend what happened

JuliaPathfider
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Thank you Sarah, i am so sorry for your loss. I can relate in many ways, to your experience of losing your beloved father.
It’s almost 40 years since my father passed, and i still miss him every day.
I agree, talking about our feelings during these difficult emotional times, is crucial to how well we handle, and process the experience. And of course to the healing of our heart.
Unfortunately, talking about, and accepting my emotions, wasn’t something I did back then, which ultimately led to my healing journey being much longer and more challeng, than it would have been, had i allowed myself to feel and accpt my emotions at the time.
Sadly I have lost my mother and 2 brother’s, a dear nephew, and other family members since then, and made sure I didn’t make the same mistake.
Much love. ❤

Annette
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Annette

Indeed, no one will ever leave this world alive! I have experienced several emotional phases since many years ago with my precious and adorable mother and a dear precious brother a year ago! I have discovered that grief expresses itself in different emotional phases such as: 1) The shock even if the death of a loved one was imminent; 2) the non-acceptance of their loss no matter how we try to reason their departure; 3) The feeling of desperation that in some cases can lead to depression if the grief is not comprehensible and not tolerable; 4) Probable Guilt depending how the deceased was well taken care of or not or other causes; 5) The anguish when the grieving person starts to realize how to cope with the loss bringing about the changes in their life that they will have to make; 6) The reintegration in their normal life once the emotional phases have been lived and coped with. At first, in my case it took me a whole year especially at family anniversaries, Christmas, New Year or other events not having them with us which was very painful, but in the following years, the pain had subsided but never forgetting them always living in my heart. So the same may may happen to someone who has lived the emotional phases of a passing of a loved one! Time is a healer as everyone knows but the emotional side of our being can accept then the loss and live with it in our heart ❤️♥️! Amen 🙏

Ruth E Barnhart
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Ruth E Barnhart

I felt grief the first time at the age of eight the only girl within a two block area that was a friend of mine died. She went on a picnic to Big Sur and drowned. I cried every night for about 2 months. I attended several funerals for relatives that I only saw at Christmas, none of those deaths affected me. Then in my 29th year my father was in the hospital 19 times on Nov 8th my younger brother called to say Mom had died I argued with and kept saying it had to be dad, my brother hung up. It was my Mom, she broke my inability to deal with grief, Its strange I lost seven family members in the next four years, including my beloved husband. To me grief comes to everyone its hardest to deal with when it’s someone you see or hear from every day. There is no one way to get through it, grief caches you when you least expect it. The minute it does I try to remember a funny memory like out watermelon seed spitting contest, our whipped cream taging games, our jumping off of rocks, warfs,bridges, or boat to swim to something. When I can laugh the pain subsides. ruth

Amy
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Amy

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on grief. I am deeply sorry for the loss of your Dad. I lost my Dad March 2017…my Dad was an extremely intellectual, articulate, passionate, active man who was taken by Alzheimers which I deem is the cruelest most despicable illness to ever be. When my Dad was diagnosed, it was 3 years prior to his passing, the diagnoses was Early Onset Dimentia, he asked his Dr to provide him with a pill that he could take because he wasn’t going to suffer this nor was his wife, his family and friends. He would take the pill when he knew it was time. The Dr’s response was “I’m sorry but I can’t do that”.
To watch my Dad, who was an amazing wordsmith with a remarkably vast vocabulary, search for even the simplest of words and endure such a gut wrenching frustration over it was/is one of the most painful things I’ve ever experienced. He was an extremely active individual. He loved to play golf and did a few times a week, he traveled around The US with friends playing different courses, a great passion for him. He had a group of friend that he cycled with a few times a week, his last ride was in September 2016…18 miles I believe….Skiing! Wow he was a fantastic skier, season pass every year. Hitting the slopes 3 times a week some weeks maybe even 5, his grandkids thought Grandpas ability on skis was one of the coolest things ever especially after he reached his 70’s. He loved rafting and captained his own boat, being on the river was a love of his. He absolutely loved Lake Powell, a yearly family trip with kids, grandkids, always a trip with friends “the guys trip” in October. He thoroughly loved hiking the landscape at Powell and acquiring rocks that typically he was the only one to see the uniqueness of. He has grandkids that embraced this knack and passion as well, there are a gazillion rocks at my house that are “the coolest, prettiest things you’ve ever seen”…. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t ache over the loss of my amazing Dad. I can feel pretty good, have my head above water and WHAM! I see something or hear something and promptly turn into a puddle or just feel the most painful twinge in my heart and my gut or just stop in my tracks for a moment to regain my composure so I can push through whatever it may be that I’m doing.
With Alzheimers I really feel like the grieving process started long before he passed. I believe this because we lost bits and pieces of him over time and somethings we lost were the things that made him him. His loss of words, his loss of direction, his loss of familiarity, his loss of feeling comfortable at home and with his family around, he didn’t always know us, which was absolutely heartbreaking. It was all heartbreaking. So as Dad’s Alzheimer’s took over and we all fought so hard to find him, we grieved. The day my Dad passed was so very painful and in the same moment it was absolutely grand…peace, he finally had peace.

Amy

Rainy Garner
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Rainy Garner

My Lord and Savior always has got me thur everything in my life. I am a prayer warrior for any one that ask for my prayers.