Arthur Golden, in his novel “Memoirs of a Geisha” wrote;
“Grief is a most peculiar thing. We’re so helpless in the face of it. It’s like a window that will simply open on its own accord. The room grows cold, and we can do nothing but shiver. But it opens a little less each time, and a little less, and one day we wonder what has become of it.”
Ladies and gentlemen,
Grief is defined is an intense sorrow especially caused by someone’s death.
So, here I am going to share about grief.
Not about how peculiar it is, but how grief becomes a common thing to deal in our lives.
Personally, I believe that grief has an ongoing and an everlasting relationship with those who have lost their loved ones. It slowly builds up, reaches its peak and chooses to stay there a little longer in comfort before deciding to crash.
At the peak, we have to decide what to do with the amount of energy we are holding on to, in the name of grief.
Often, grief comes to touch our feet like the sea waves; choosing to leave only to return.
So, do we deal with grief or choose to ignore it?
If we choose to deal with it, the next question would be “How?”
How do we deal with our grief?
What do I know about grief? I am neither an expert, nor someone who is going to share some glamorous ideas on how to deal with it.
Instead, I am going to share with you a glimpse of how I dealt with my grief and made it a friend.
Before I continue, let me tell you that the journey was a bumpy one. I kept falling down, hurting myself but I chose not to give up.
Just weeks after our 3rd wedding anniversary; I lost my husband. Things were tricky because I was in the position to decide to bring him back home. He was 36, in comma with nearly no chance of survival.
The fact that I was 30, alone and was taking this huge responsibility pushed me to a corner to have a face-to-face conversation with grief. I had to ask grief to stay one step back till I did what I needed to do. By the time all the rituals were completed and I was all alone in our home; I took a deep breath and began listening to silence.
It took me another 30 days to finally accept the fact that he is no more and to sit down and cry. I know that I was fully responsible to make my journey that time onwards to be a better one and not to fall back to the sadness alone.
The first step in dealing with grief of losing a loved one is acceptance.
I believe that acceptance of the events which has unfolded in life would be the key to open other doors of survival. I was having a mixture of bottled- up emotions which often led me to looking for answers for a series of “What-if “ questions. “What is this didn’t happen. What if I didn’t do this and so on.”
Only once I have accepted that he was no more, that there is an empty space and I have no choice but to deal with grief no matter what; that I actually become calmer.
I knew what I did was the best for him and myself.
I chose to talk to people who were willing to listen without judging my actions. Eventually, it helped me to be contented and accept the fact that I was a widow at the age of 30.
Accepting lost is not easy but the heaviness was reduced and I was feeling lighter which helped me to look at things from a different perspective.
This led me to the next step. Taking care of myself. I began focusing on myself, paying closer attention to my eating habits and fitness journey. The more I pour energy inwards, the lesser I felt the existence of my grief. Trust me, I am again saying that grief doesn’t disappear into the thin air just like that, but it stayed on as a loyal motivator. I used my grief of losing my husband to lose 43kgs because health was one of my main concern.
Grief ultimately helped me to support my journey of making a dream of ours become a reality. When I first heard my voice filling the conference hall during the launching of a local album back in 2015, I said in my heart and I felt in my tears, “Here you go! I wish you were here listening to this, watching me getting these applauses from the public but I accept that you are not here.”
I made myself a better version from the one I was in the past with the help of grief. I began writing again after a very long time. This long-lost hobby of mine kept me alive by allowing me to pour my heart out through words.
Dealing with grief became so much easier as I focused inwards, instead of looking for an external factor to help me. Besides accepting the loss and to focus on myself I began celebrating his life in bits and pieces. Initially, it was a difficult for me to go on days like his birthday, our anniversaries and so on. These special occasions would make me take one step backward and lay low till I start to feel normal.
Slowly, as I work on myself, making grief my best friend I chose to celebrate these special occasions in life. How did I do it?
I began taking up some of his practices as mine.
For example, every Ramadhan he would donate dry items to a nearby mosque. In addition, he always bought food or drinks when he saw old, homeless people.
Every single time I do these acts of kindness, there is a joy and contentment within me. I felt like I was celebrating his life and our memories, even after he had passed away.
Grief, my dear friends, allowed me to explore life in a different way. It led me to be more alert of my surrounding, to be more giving whenever I can, in any amount I could and sometimes, it is just me smiling to a stranger or holding the door open for the next person after me.
By accepting and embracing grief, I know I have become a better and not a bitter person.
I understand that we all deal with grief differently and that it could act as a double -edged dagger. We have the choice to use grief as a tool to help us grow, or the other way around.
We have the capability to use grief to build others around us, or to destroy.
Elizabeth Ross writes,
“The reality is you will grieve forever. You will not get over the loss of a loved one, you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole but you will never be the same again. Nor should you be the same, nor should you want to.”
For me, this journey began ten years ago at the age of 30. I was younger, naïve and full of dreams. These 10 years has not been the greatest journey but an extravagant one which I celebrate on a daily occasion.
Obviously, I have made my share of mistakes, which I took up as lessons grief had taught me.
Constantly evolving; the whole process took me to sharp turnings where I learnt to travel in harmony with my grief.
I am going to be 40 soon.
I am older, happier, and still full of dreams.
As what Arthur Golden has mentioned, …one day we wonder what has become of it.
I know, I won’t wonder too long.
I know my grief build me, because I chose to allow it to make me who I am today.
So, I shall leave you with this question.
Do you deal with grief or choose to ignore it?