Grief may be a thing we all have in common, but it looks different on everyone.
It isn’t just death we have to grieve. It’s life. It’s loss. It’s change.
And when we wonder why it has to suck so much sometimes, has to hurt so bad. The thing we gotta try to remember is that it can turn on a dime.
That’s how you stay alive. When it hurts so much you can’t breathe, that’s how you survive.
By remembering that one day, somehow, impossibly, you won’t feel this way. It won’t hurt this much.
Grief comes in its own time for everyone, in its own way.
So the best we can do, the best anyone can do, is try for honesty.
The really crappy thing, the very worst part of grief is that you can’t control it.
The best we can do is try to let ourselves feel it when it comes.
And let it go when we can.
The very worst part is that the minute you think you’re past it, it starts all over again.
And always, every time, it takes your breath away.
There are five stages of grief. They look different on all of us, but there are always five.
So even though the above content is actually taken from the script of a Grey’s Anatomy episode, it’s jarring how true it all rings. Grief really is all those things and more. For me, it’s like a tidal wave. It washes over me, overwhelms me, makes me feel as if it’ll take me under and drown me. It’s breathtaking that way. And when it washes away, it feels like it will be a while before it’ll be back, and I feel renewed, rejuvenated, as if I’ve been reborn, as if all the tears I shed were actually another self of my own that I was shedding off. But the thing about waves is that they come and go, they ebb and flow. And a tidal wave always comes back. Always.
I thought being home would feel good, that I would feel better about things, but being home has actually had the opposite effect on me. One week at home and I feel more depressed than I ever was in the past few months at LUMS. Perhaps being idle has something to do with it, I have nothing to do at home so everything hits me more profoundly than it would at LUMS where I constantly have something to distract myself with. But there’s also another reason. There is a tendency in South Asian families to sweep under the rug things that they don’t want to talk about or acknowledge, usually this is taboo stuff such as sex or something embarassing like their own child’s eating disorder. It’s sad to realise that, at home, my brother’s death has become one of these topics. It’s not denial, it’s acceptance of the very worst type, because in accepting his death, they’ve forgotten that they have to deal with it too.
In conversation, one family member referred to it as “when THAT happened”. Certainly it is still very painful to talk about and remember but how is it at all healthy to just NOT talk about it at all? Noone ever mentions his name at home, and the few times I’ve done that, it’s made them wince. Being in an atmosphere where the grief is suppressed and ignored is proving to be very very difficult for me, because at least in LUMS I had someone with whom I could talk about what I’m feeling. At home, I have excuse myself to the bathroom and try to just breathe. Sometimes, all I need is just one minute to remember my brother, just one minute to miss him. But at home, it feels like every minute is spent that way, and the remembering and missing often leads to crying. I don’t know how much longer I can take this, because this sort of grief is similar to the one I experienced initially right after his death. It’s unbearable, like someone cutting you open, letting you heal, and then cutting you open. Again and again, with no end in sight. It can’t be controlled, no matter how much my own family pretends that it can, but eventually it does stop before it starts again. That brief period of time in the middle, the pause of peace, that’s all I am waiting for now.
I don’t know when it will come. It’s often said that you find peace once you’ve acknowledged acceptance. I’ve accepted that my brother is gone, but I do tend to have phases when I find myself conversing with God, asking him to let my brother come back just for a while. Let him come back, so that I’d appreciate him more, I’d fight with him less, I’d talk to him more, I’d hug him more. These phases are rare, and they always come when I’m at my lowest, which seems to be right now. I think this low stage might last for a while, because there are birthdays coming up: mine and my brother’s, both in June, both Gemini’s, both celebrated together quite often. The 6 month mark is also coming up. I am not sure how I am going to deal with that. I’ve got friends who are getting married, and others still who just graduated this year, it should be a happy time but all I can think about is that my brother won’t be around when I am getting married or graduating.
I try my best to not write when I am feeling all these things, because, honestly, who would want to read something so depressing? But it’s not about others right now, it’s about me. And I need to get away.