Discussing the complexity of grief through life

Anna Malesiewski, Features Editor

We are all grieving.

Every single person, probably above the age of 5, who has ever come into contact with another person is grieving in some way.

Let me explain what I mean.

Grieving is not always about death. Although in a lot of circumstances, it is.

We are all imperfect human beings. And as a result, we have a tendency to leave and be left.

We have a tendency for broken relationships and breaks in bonds and friendships.

To be human is to be subject to some sense of impermanence that is sometimes difficult to fathom or process.

And therefore, we grieve. Sometimes without even knowing it.

A lot of us have had relationships broken with friends, family members or significant others due to trauma or wrongdoing. It really hurts to have someone cross us the wrong way.

Sometimes grieving can show up as this weird and blurry line between nostalgia and trauma in which it becomes difficult to distinguish between the two.

But sometimes grieving occurs as an attempt to process the leaving of a person whom we loved dearly.

Sometimes it is easier to sever a connection with a person who has been blatantly hurtful to us than to sever a connection with a person who knew our coffee order or taught us about the world or introduced us to their favorite songs.

Sometimes it is easier to sever a connection with someone who never cared than it is to sever a connection with someone who truly knew and understood you, even though it is initially more difficult to come to terms with the former.

More people than we realize are attempting to live and function with grief that they don’t even know is there, because it’s very rare to hear of grief in the context of a living person. A lot of people who don’t know what to do with all of the things they have left unsaid with people they may never see or communicate with again.

A lot of people are trying to process the time spent with people as a thing of the past rather than a thing of the present.

We impact every single person we meet and form a relationship with in the most subtle yet profound ways. So sometimes, it can be difficult to determine where the pain that causes the loss of the cause of these effects is coming from.

This is why it’s so important to be gentle with one another. We are all walking around with unresolved grief and pain.

If you take anything from this, please listen to me when I say to trust. Trust that the universe or God or whatever system you subscribe to has plans in store for you that are beyond what you have lost. That the timing of God or the universe is never wrong.

Trust that while it may be tempting to wish we could hit replay and bring back what we have lost, there is better on the horizon. God or the universe or whatever you believe in only takes away to replace.

Trust in the power of forgiveness. I don’t necessarily believe that we have a moral obligation to forgive those who have hurt us, by their intentional or unintentional leaving. Sometimes it isn’t fair to be asked to stop being resentful toward those who have hurt us. We need to feel our hurt in order to process it.

But there is power in the knowledge that we would forgive someone if we could. That we would like to forgive someone given the opportunity. That we are optimistic that the ones who have hurt us would give us a reason to forgive them. Sometimes that radical trust is enough.

There is no easy way to live on after something painful happens to you. There is no step-by-step plan. There is just waking up every day and deciding to live with it.

Deciding to continue on despite it. Deciding to remember that while thunderstorms are inevitable, sunshine still exists.

We are all hurting. Let’s be the sunshine for others, not the rain.


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