Grief is like a murky black fog that takes over your line of vision. When the moment comes that a loved one passes, it feels as though life has come crashing down. An avalanche of emotion sweeps over your entire existence, as though time has somehow stopped in its tracks. I remember feeling my body begin to collapse in on itself as the oxygen slowly seeped out of my lungs until breathlessness took over, leaving me gasping. Time stops when grief hits.
But as the seconds begin to tick by once again, the fog does gradually lift. It can be qreluctant at first, but someday you wake up and find that your first thought isn’t about them anymore. You can go ahead and make that first cup of coffee in the morning without the heartbreak that you are no longer making one for them taking over. Inch by inch, that deep, dark fog moves away, leaving behind only the happy memories that you reminisce on in your daily life, fondly.
It’s peaceful once the fog passes.
There will still be triggers from time to time. The smallest thing can set you off. It can be a major event in your life, or a minor one, something breaking belonging to them, an important date. You may even find yourself mentally preparing for the occasion days or weeks in advance. And sometimes, when the day does come, it was never as challenging as you had anticipated.
Sometimes though, the fog sneaks back in when you least expect it—crashing down before you have a chance to react.
This happened to me last week.
I had had a crazy couple of weeks, involving a whole of pretty significant changes in my life. I had admitted just the day before that I felt I was hanging on by a thread. I know my mind, and I knew that one issue to deal with would cause my mental health to suffer – big time. Low and behold, the following day, when searching for some comfort in my dad’s belongings, I discovered an item had been damaged. Something small, seemingly insignificant. But the pain it caused me hit like a tonne of bricks.
The darkness was back. Honestly, it is a blur. I couldn’t see or think clearly. My world had begun to crumble around me; all the protections are barricades I built up were now gone, replaced by a deep, deep emptiness that trapped me in its false sense of security.
It was Saturday afternoon. Sunny. I had things I wanted to get done. But I just couldn’t. Time had stopped for me yet again. I lay on top of my bed, choking on tears and gasping for a breath. All I could see was the threatening fog encircling my entire vision. I lay there until late Sunday night when I decided to have a shower in an attempt to wash away the grief that had possessed my mind once again.
I was very grateful for my busy schedule in the days after. Although I was still low, I was surrounded by beautiful people who allowed me to open up and lean on them. I only hope that they know how appreciative I am and how lucky I feel to know them.
Now, I feel more stable. The fog has lifted once again, and I feel stronger now. I don’t recall feeling so affected by grief in such a long, long time. It took me by surprise. It will be five years this year. Most of the time, I am okay, but some days are rougher than others, and I think that applies to just about everyone. Grief is a lifelong process, not just something that affects the weeks immediately after death. Be kind to yourself, especially on the most challenging days.