Noun – Definition: intense sorrow, especially caused by someone’s death.
This is going to be a short piece. It’s not really so much a blog post, but more a recognition of something that has happened, an acknowledgment.
Unless you were raised in an extremely progressive home, I’d be bold enough to say that no one is really raised to know how to deal with grief. It’s almost like a big monster that creeps up on you once someone you loved or cared about has left this world. It surprises you, sometimes even scares you, and we’re not educated with how to deal with our grief or emotions.
From a young age we aren’t taught how to deal with grief; I’m not sure if it’s a British ‘stiff-upper-lip’ thing or whether it’s just put down to being too sad to teach to children. It’s almost deemed weak to acknowledge your suffering publicly. Society teaches us that to move on after someone’s passing we must forget, or pretend like such awful thing never happened, and that the quicker you move on the faster you will heal.
If you were taught differently, you’re very lucky. I don’t know where or how I learned to deal with my emotions, usually I can proudly say I’m in tune with my feelings. But I can safely say my relationship with my grief, after the loss of my nephew Joshua, is an unhealthy one. A monster that has taken 11 months to creep up on me, and now it’s here, I don’t know how to deal with it.
People are designed to be born, to live a full life and then, surrounded by their loved ones, they will pass on. But how are you meant to deal with the loss of a loved one who never truly lived? How can you process the loss of a life so pure, it didn’t deserve to leave us. When my nephew passed away, it redesigned the definition of “gone too soon” for me. Every loss that had come before paled in insignificance to the loss of him, and instead of dealing with my pain, I pushed it to one side.
Grief and mourning are two words that are so often brought together in harmony, but in a way are two very separate things. Mourning is a time period that lasts for however long for the individual. But usually after a period of time mourning will leave you, and you will begin to see the light of the future and your life will begin to flood with new memories and happiness again.
Grief is something that never leaves you; it’s that time you think of a memory you spent with a loved one, it’s placing flowers on a graveside, it’s that sharp intake of breath every time you remember that your life goes on but they’re not here to share it with you.
I believe you can only begin the healing process by acknowledging your grief, taking it by the hand, sitting it down and having a good old chat with it. Your grief is there for a reason, and it will continue to haunt you until you understand what it wants, and why it’s making you feel the way you feel. I’ve spent so many years pretending to be strong and acting like everything is okay every time I’ve lost a friend or grandparent. But the loss of Joshua has taught me I cannot move forward neglecting my emotions; I must recognise that monster and let it in, only then will I learn it’s not such a monster after all, but just another emotion to add to my technicolour array of feelings I feel every single day.
As a family we remember my nephew by talking about his legacy. Even though he lived for such a short amount of time, his impact was magnificent. His footprint has imprinted with so many people for so many different reasons. I think I have realised today that Joshua’s legacy for me is to always understand and accept my grief, and know it’s that that makes me human. I will never again be ashamed to grieve, and neither should you.
Want to learn more, find support for child loss or follow Joshua’s Legacy?
My sister-in-law runs a wonderful Instagram in memory of my nephew and other babies and children gone too soon.
Click here to take a look: Joshua’s Legacy