Grief (in death). Days become minutes, hours become weeks. Time doesn’t matter anymore and the world disappears a little. One moment you’re driving to get a coffee, the next, you realise you’ve parked, and have been sitting in the car for 20 minutes staring at a shopfront- taking nothing in, letting nothing out.
You hang, suspended between real life and your little grief cave, and wonder which way you will be swung next. Maybe you’ll snap to and go get your coffee; maybe you’ll close your eyes and let the tears flow for a moment, maybe you’ll write a blog post. It doesn’t matter though, all options would be appropriate and correct. That’s the thing about grief, there’s no right or wrong. Only the process- whatever you need.
Grief meets different people in different ways, it treats different losses as completely individual and demands different responses every time it visits. The loss of a grandparent is very different from the loss of a child, the loss of a pet if very different to the loss of a best mate. A loss at 85 is different to a loss at 35. You’ll never grieve in the same way for 2 different souls. You can’t. Because each loss teaches you something about yourself. Whether you realise what you need in times of grief, or whether the loss of a particular person has direct, practical impacts on your life; you’re a different person for every loss. So each one is new. So you never get used to it.
You can get good at grief though. You can learn to accept the process, look upon your responses with curiosity and without judgement, and allow yourself what you need to process through it gently and kindly.
I’m pretty good at grief. I welcome it. I welcome the pain that comes with it, the waves of emotion, the moments of relief watching a funny movie or laughing with a friend. I welcome the multiple day-time sleeps and the exhaustion and the headaches from crying. My grief is a testament to my love for the lost, and I won’t minimise it.
You don’t get to put a time limit on grief. Maybe you cry and sleep for a week straight and get up and get on with it. But maybe you cry for a hour then get busy finishing what you were doing, then stop and cry again. Then not sleep. Then sleep a lot. Then cry again. Then laugh for a while. Then cry. For weeks. Months. Years later you’re triggered by a photo, or a familiar feeling, or a memorable smell, and you choke back tears for a while because you think you “shouldn’t” still be sad about this. The truth is, you never really stop grieving for someone. You just get further down the process and it’s gets easier to carry on. You’re going to be triggered by those smells and sounds and sights. And it’s ok to release. You’re going to be sad on birthdays, you’re going to struggle with the first time you do anything without that person. And that’s ok too.
Grief is easily shared. Often other people are experiencing it at the same time as you are. Whether your family just lost a pet or your close friends, the Australian music industry and,(seemingly) all of Facebook just lost a fucking legend- you’re usually in it together. Share with people. Share the memories. Share the disbelief. Share the laughter, the tears and the heartache. Share the process and help each other grieve.
If you’re alone in your grief, be ok with sucking some healing energy from the universe and being kind to yourself. Take baths- don’t take baths. Pamper yourself- or let yourself go. Do whatever you need to heal and don’t be afraid to call on friends- or even strangers, for some love and support.
No one is immune to grief. Don’t pretend you are. It doesn’t need to be a scary process. There’s no right or wrong way to process, no right or wrong list of things you need to get through it.
Rest in peace, Yustin. I love you. So many love you. Until we meet again- I’m going to get that coffee…