Feelings, Grief, And Other Emotions
Trigger warning: Talks about grief/losing a loved one
Recently, I experienced (and am still experiencing) the complicated emotions surrounding grief. I’ve wanted to write about my experience for a while, but I needed to wait until my feelings settled. I’ve been able to take a step back and look at how I processed everything—from seeing my grammy go through hospice, to her funeral, and finally, helping sort through some of the things she left behind. There have been a lot of feelings—some I still don’t understand—but in writing down my experience, my hope is to open a conversation about grief and the feelings surrounding it.
I was a mess. I went back and forth between being fine, to being unable to stop my tears …
In the beginning, the sadness would creep up unexpectedly. All of a sudden, my good mood would be eclipsed by a hollow feeling. I know that those around me didn’t want me to be sad. Yet, by letting myself feel instead of burying the negative emotions deep within myself, I was able to go through my own grief process and feel better.
I was a mess. I went back and forth between being fine, to being unable to stop my tears, in a matter of minutes. The feeling of loss struck at night before bed when the world around me was quiet and I no longer had anything to distract me from my broken heart.
At times, I would also do things to make myself cry. It was a way to feel some sort of control over the situation …
I started my grief journey by distracting myself to numb the hard emotions I was facing. I got lost in the most random things: bowls of microwaveable popcorn, Korean dramedies, and the warmth of a blanket. I’d meticulously clean parts of the house; leaving other parts neglected. Sometimes, I’d play the same mobile game until my neck hurt from looking down at the phone.
At times, I would also do things to make myself cry. It was a way to feel some sort of control over the situation. I’d listen to specific songs on repeat and cry—typically when I was alone in my car. Other times I’d cry in my fiancée’s arms.
I gave myself time to let everything out, and time to forget about the pain. Since I had no control over my grammy’s situation, my grief process gave me control over my feelings. I also practiced self-care and let myself indulge in things that I enjoyed (as long as they weren’t self-destructive). Talking things through helps me navigate all aspects of my life, so talk therapy was another way for me to better understand my emotions. Not only was I about to articulate my feelings, it convinced me that my grief process and feelings were, and are, valid.
Everyone experiences grief differently. Unfortunately, there is no special handbook or “right” way to do it, and there’s no set timeline.
I’m now surrounded by a new feeling that gives me hope. I no longer need to control when I cry or not. In the past week, I’ve noticed that the empty feeling I had has subsided. Although the space that my grammy left is still there, it has now been filled with good memories, stories, and the chicken figurines she left behind.
Everyone experiences grief differently. Unfortunately, there is no special handbook or “right” way to do it, and there’s no set timeline. Your grief journey may look different than mine, but by opening the dialogue of loss and grief, we can help each other find ways to navigate our own grief process. Sound off in the comments with what helped you deal with your grief.
Resources to help with grief:
David Pogue’s NY Times article, What to Say (and What Not to Say) to Someone Who’s Grieving made me laugh and cringe. It helped me better navigate how to communicate with others who are experiencing grief. The line that really spoke to me was: “Whatever you are feeling, and whenever you are feeling it, it’s O.K.”