Thoughts On Grief

This year, I have been witness to as well as purveyor of, much grief.  I have watched my daughter grieve the loss of her country, her family, her language, and everything that she knew as her life.  Although I know what would have happened if she had stayed, she had no idea, and even if she did, it would not have lessened her grief and loss.

I have witnessed my Grandmother saying goodbye to her husband of almost 60 years. Watched as she said, “it’s okay….I’m going to be alright….you go and rest.” Witnessed her tears as his life slipped away to heave, leaving her here to exist on this side…half of her gone.

My aunt died unexpectedly, and I witnessed the gut-wrenching sobs of her siblings and mother….of my siblings…myself…as we tried to wrap our minds around what happened, as we tried to acknowledge that she is no longer here.

Again, I witnessed the sobs of my aunt when she called to tell me that my dad had died.  My Granny had to say goodbye to her son, accept that he was gone, that his life did not resolve how we had hoped it one day would.

A friend that I’ve known for 20 years lost her husband at only 34 years old.  A sudden loss of life so young, she had to say goodbye.

Grief is frustrating. It cannot be hidden from, it presents itself in a million different ways, and you can’t fight it no matter how hard you try.


Grief is raw, bringing the deepest hurt from a person, to the surface of reality.  It takes up occupancy in every hour…every second, of every day.  There is seemingly no end to grief when one is deep within.  It is all consuming and all feeling.

Grief does not have a handbook.  Oh there are many books out there that try to guide people through it, they try to contain grief into bulleted steps with which one can work through.  It doesn’t work that way though.  My loss of my Grandpa is nothing like the loss my Grandmother had when he passed.  My daughter’s loss over her whole world, is nothing like the loss two of my other children experienced when they left Ukraine.

Every person is different.  Every person will experience grief in a unique way, that only they can.  For some, they will cry at every commercial, every hour in which the loved one died, and in general, at every moment that their loved one crosses their mind.  This can go on for days….months…..

For some people, they may get angry at the ones they feel responsible for their loss.  My daughter throws tantrums and rages through her feelings of loss.  Some people stop eating, some people camp out at the grave site, some people eat constantly, some people withdraw and speak to no one for a while, some pretend to move on, some journal, some paint, some throw things, etc….etc…etc…

There is NO WRONG way to grieve. (Aside from illegal drug use of course).

Give people space to grieve.  Don’t try to force them to feel better in order to make you feel better.  Don’t ask them if they are okay.  Undoubtedly, they will tell you yes they are okay, because it is uncomfortable for you to hear that NO….their life sucks right now….they are hurting.

So they hide behind a veil of “okay.” Resulting in you thinking they are okay, and lessening your support, acceptance of their behavior, and concern.

Coming through grief and learning to live life again is not easy.  Give people space.  Love them with acceptance and freedom to have their feelings.  Rejoice when they smile and enjoy life again, but don’t try to rush it in order to make yourself feel better.


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