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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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Nance

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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JuliaPathfider

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.

Margo
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Margo

Sorry for your tragic loss, and thank you for being brave enough to share it with us all. I realise that my message is rather long, regards the grief state. I can relate to your story. Grief was like a terrible illness for me, mentally and physically, as it is for most, I would imagine. I hid away, going through all the processes. I waited until it was dark on a Winter’s afternoon before I would go out, if I did go out. My perception of death changed, in a way that it showed me how fragile life could be, as with my Mother, it was just like blowing out a candle. She died suddenly. I never got to say goodbye or sorry or I love you. I never knew what happened to her in her last moments, I was at work. I had chatted with her the night before, and she seemed fine. Next day I got an unusual call to go to the office at work. My Mum was dead. I’ve been ill since that day, with constant minor and major illnesses. She did say a couple of days before that she didn’t feel great, but this was nothing unusual and there were viruses going around, but she managed to go out on the Saturday morning, and was ok, then she was dead on Sunday morning…. no real warnings. I beat myself up, felt awfully guilty because I never noticed or paid attention to any warning signs. She seemed healthy enough, apart from what was thought to be the onset of a cold or virus. I don’t have any advice for anyone really, as we are all in different circumstances, family dynamics, and unique in how we handle loss of a loved one. All I would say is do what you feel will ease the journey through grief, get help if you need it, release emotional pain, don’t be scared to talk about the person, or not. Pain changes us, and sometimes we have to accept this or we can fight through it. I think people know themselves what way of coping lis best for themselves. One thing I have noticed though is, lots of people appear from nowhere and surround you with flowers, hugs, offer condolences, and visit you, then when you need a friend a few weeks or months later, they are all gone! Some people would avoid me, as they didn’t want to get involved in any conversation about my Mother. They couldn’t be bothered stopping for a chat. They thought I was going to drag them into my world of grief and sorrow, when all I needed was a friendly face to say “hello”. I was an only child and a single parent, my Father was there but was abusive towards me, so that’s what I mean about family dynamics being different. I observed that the people who managed their grief better were people with a wide network of good family and friends, or even just one or two really supportive people to carry them over the rough days. There are places I no longer go, people I closed doors on, I’m still scared of dying, as I don’t know how I will leave this world. I can’t turn round and talk about stuff to my Mum, she is no longer beside me in the physical realm. I do worry about death in the way that I would be leaving my precious Son behind to cope on his own. He is grown up now, and does have his own family unit, but I’m scared to leave him. To say “ time heals”, creates a doubt in my mind. Everyone says it and all the old cliche’s come out when someone dies, “ he/she is in a better place now, or something related to religion and angels, or a comment about the way the person passed away”. That used to get on my nerves although I knew they didn’t now what else to say, and people may have meant well. People opened my eyes, woke me up with their fake tones, actions and phrases I liked it when people gave me actual ideas about how to deal with grief, for example, place Rosemary sprigs around the room to create a calmness, or place a Crystal stone and their favourite perfume in the Coffin, set up a little altar with a picture of the person, surround it with white candles, and/or angel bell, little statues, trinkets or items that the person owned…. etc. You can create your own personal tribute to them in your own private space. Talk to them. I can’t do that, talk to a picture. I’ve tried. Another aspect of grief which scared me was, as time passed, I might forget what she really looked like, that memories would fade, things came out that I didn’t understand and I couldn’t ask my Mum if they were true or not. I used to think I had seen her in the town, but it was a trick of the mind or someone who looked similar from a distance. Everything became exaggerated, and I lost myself along the way. My Mum took a part of me when she departed to another land. I can’t visit my Mum, I don’t drive, and the place where she was cremated is too far into the Country. Right through the Funeral, a white horse appeared in the field outside, the Parlour Grounds, and after the Funeral, the horse just vanished. Only me and one other woman noticed this. That’s 12 years ago now, my Grandparents are gone years ago before my Mum. I confided in people who betrayed my trust and sorrow, therefore I no longer tell anyone anything about my Mum. The death of my Mother left a gaping wound in my heart, soul and spirit. Nothing was or will be the same. It created chaos in my mind and changed my personality for a time. I keep my thoughts and places we used to go, sacred to me. I noticed that some people be-littled my grief because my Mum was 68, like it didn’t matter that much, she was older. One thing I would say to people is to be aware of insensitive and thoughtless people, and people who tell you that your pain can’t be as bad as theirs due to the different types of death, ages and experiences. Lots of people sickened me for a long time because of their cruel comments. Grief can change us over time in some way. When I was young, it was all different. There are still vast differences in the way that individuals both deal with and cope with the profound affects it leaves you feeling. I became more spiritual, without really noticing it happen. Things began to happen that I couldn’t explain away. We all go through the stages, but not in the same order or the same way, with the same people. It made me wonder what life is all about. I started to buy stuff to fill the emptiness in my life, I bought items with the attitude that life is too short to live without a handbag etc. I’m sure everyone has their own stories about grief to tell. We are all different. I’ve known of people who just couldn’t go on after losing someone close. Don’t leave people behind to grieve on their own or keep an eye open for them, make sure they aren’t going to do anything harmful to themselves. Take care, all.

Cloud Walker
Guest
Cloud Walker

When my Dad died, it was a moment of NO! that can’r be. Grief hits us all in different ways and yes it does stay with us a lot longer than necessary– sometimes years before we can get up and go on with what is left for us to do.

Louise
Guest
Louise

I can only speak for myself and strategies that work for me, so forgive me if I either repeat myself or give an impression that life without a loved one is easy.
I found my 33year old Son-dead in his bed very recently. Nothing prepared me for the heart ache and shock.
He left two puppies that will stay with me forever, as they are the essense of my son Chris.
While grief is an unwelcome guest, I try to take the positive out of every thing it sends. I spend every afternoon after work in the woods with them , sometimes I cry, sometimes I smile as I look around at the beauty of the solitary wood, however I never feel alone. I feel Chris in the wind, the rain and in the sun. He is always around me and I will not succumbe to negativity. Each time the melancholy hits me I take what feeling it sends whether it’s tears, anger, frustration or pain. I sit quietly and let it flow over me and I write words on paper….any words ,whatever comes into my head. Some of it is nonsense but then it seems to flow. I read back over it often and relive the pain I felt when I wrote it. After a short while I feel a bit stronger. To meet it makes me feel I am not afraid of you Mr Grief! I am facing you head on and doing what I can to control the sadness it brings.
Sorry if this seems arrogant but my only way to cope is to feel empowered by fighting back yet embracing the inevitable pain.
For me the grief and sadness I feel is almost a gift. It shows my deep love for my son, so without it I would be suggesting I had very little love for him.
I send all you beautiful people my love and hope for the future

Kamala
Guest
Kamala

Thanks sr several time i m sharing I love u n ur Article so i m here everyday with new experience yes thid is true i m not doing well because when my mind is getting negetive that reacting long time make me disturbing even though now i m okey n sorry i m not giving time out here Sr i m alive like to happy n success life this revolutionary questions r always make n telling me worlds great legends n god also with u must be present ur self as a women of strong personelity strugling n fighting against negetivity be positive stey healty thanks Sr

Rowie
Guest
Rowie

I just lost my mom last Sept 29, she is so lively and happy person, though she has history of asthma, this past months we cant see any sign of it until that evening when she can no longer breath and we were still able to send her in the hospital but in just blink of an eye she’s gone. Truly a painful goodbye is the one that left unsaid.. the pain is still here and I even dream of her last night asking me how am I doin… i feel so lonely when I wake up that a mother even after life she is still thinking of how I am coping up..

Sheela Chilloyee
Guest
Sheela Chilloyee

Hi ,it’s very encouraging n inspiring. Thk u very much but there are some people who do not want to let u live your life.

prabhakar rajarapu
Guest
prabhakar rajarapu

THANK YOU GOOD MASSAGE

Arthur
Guest
Arthur

My farther died when I was little and there were seven of us. Grieving for missing him at that age was perhaps hurtful because he was the most kindest and wises person in my life. It was so sudden he didn’t say any last words to us (his children). We all are grateful for his guidance and protection at the early age in our lives.
Perhaps the most grevious loss in my life is the death of my mother and elder sister in 2004. My sister was fighting with Cancer and my mother with liver cancer. My mother grieved for the state my sister was in refused to eat unless my sister had something to eat first and died first before my sister died a month later. I had the opportunity to speak with my sister but not my mother.
The loss of my Mother and sister during my absence was the most shocking and grevious in my life. I have tried to recover and live a normal life but that’s impossible. At times it creeps up on me, because they were both leaning shoulders during hard times. I am so grateful I have them in my life…

Mary Duvall
Guest
Mary Duvall

My 27 yr old son passed away April 1st, 2017 during gallbladder surgery his heart stopped and they couldn’t get it started. The Dr had just started making the incision when his heart stopped. This has aged me….I went from having dark brownish black hair to having alot of gray in it. I still hurt, cry, and miss his voice and being able to hug him. My dogs and cat knows when I am hurting and comfort me which I am grateful for.

Laura
Guest
Laura

I inform people to grieve how it works for them. Grieving process takes time and it’s different for every person. It’s acceptable to sit with the grieving person in silence as well. I’ve lost many people in my life so far and grieved all differently. I recommend treasuring those joyful memories and to share them with others.

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