Growing Through Grief

It’s a regular morning. Coffee, in one hand, scrolling through social media with the other! Unfortunately, looking at nothing specific. But, guilty as charged, some bad habits sometimes keep us thriving, don’t they? This mindless scrolling brings me to a video I’ve already started to watch but skipped the second time. Though this time, I did not. It’s of the bride from Hyderabad, India, who was surprised by her brother with a life-like wax statue of her late father. 

My eyes stained with tears, and the fresh dawn suddenly feels blurry. The hot coffee seems cold. My thoughts jumble, and a relatable grief episode come to the fore. I feel blessed that at least my father got to witness my wedding. One undeniable fact about grief is it doesn’t necessarily come with a trigger. It’s like an uninvited guest who now you have to tend to and eventually drive away with a smile.

A year and a half since I lost my father, parts of me still haven’t recovered. It wasn’t sudden, accidental, or unexpected. The doctors had called the stage of counting on a miracle. But miracles aren’t supposed to happen daily, and we had seen our share of them in his case. There is a stage in the life of people grappling with prolonged illnesses which starts preparing them and others around them for their demise until they cross that bridge. The stark realizing the void left behind pricks you even on the brightest days.

The paradox of death is – it is inevitable and yet uncertain. I often call death a prerequisite of life. You breathe today, and life takes your breath out one day. So I am not lacking words when I say that we call the talk of death unfortunate in itself is unfortunate. 

It does not give us a chance to insulate our emotions to the onset of grief, let alone live with it for years to come. We encounter our bouts with happiness, pride, sorrow, and anger, but it has to take away a loved one to know what anguish and distress are. I have had my share of heartbreaks too, but comparing it with the heartache of a loss of a loved one is dismissing the sentimental value of both occurrences.

My father’s death is becoming a significant turning point for me to face and understand my emotions.

I often put on a mask of happiness and recovery in front of others, and I genuinely uncover my grief when I sit alone and let myself the time to process it. The truth is, the world moves on, the relatives and families stop calling, and the daunting questions of ‘what next’ keep coming my way. And you cannot possibly fathom ‘what’s next’ just sitting in a room with all the people. All one wants to do is ask them all to leave you undisturbed.

A person you have lost will find a place in your thoughts because they now occupy a bigger space in your heart. The memories you share with them will bring you grief on some days and peace on others. To recognize what brings which feeling is where the deep struggle of moving on lies. And no reassuring words can heal at this point because the close association with the lost person brings you the ownership of that emotion, that connection, and that void.

The loss of a parent, a loved one, a close relative, a favourite grandparent, or a best friend is all meant to induce a certain kind of pain that only makes us more human. It is not a thoughtless

premise when you see several movie plots where death brings out the transformation of the lead character. From my experience, the permanency of ‘never’ seeing them again transgresses our thoughts. One moment they are here, now all you have are the moments you shared. Memories…

Since every dark tunnel always opens to a bright side, you will begin seeing the light too. It can be blinding at first. You don’t know how to react when you meet someone next. Can you smile, are you supposed to be sad? Will it be, “Oh look, she’s already moved on!” or “She seems to be trying to get there?” Will I be known as “The girl who lost her father” or “Her father would have been proud of her today?” Getting to the latter is a longer road because society’s conditioning is majorly towards simply sympathising, more pitying, to be specific. Every day you will feel like crying. Cry out; you should. Yes, you may. You should. But when you wipe away that last tear and straighten yourself back up, you’ve accomplished a step toward growth. Grieving is growing, sometimes one cry session at a time.

Writer by day, an overthinker by night. I let my thoughts flow through my writing. As a definite misfit, I let my words speak louder than my actions. Welcome to my journey of sailing through emotions and experiences, with words as my paddles.

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