Grief is a word we use to describe the terrible anguish that comes with a loss. And of course, there's no grief quiet as heart-wrenching as that of the loss of a loved one. That feeling can make even the strongest people crumble to their knees in despair. But there is no grief without love; grief is an unfortunate byproduct of the love we feel for others when we can no longer express our love through words or through touch.
But there are many losses we can grieve, losses we don't talk about in the context of grief because nothing could possibly compare to the absence of someone we hold dear in our hearts. That's the folly: the need to compare one type of grief with another. The fear of feeling like one person's grief somehow makes a mockery of another's. We need to learn to shed that need to compare because all grieving is valid.
You're allowed to grieve the loss of a job, or an opportunity, a friendship, or the loss of someone's love and companionship that comes at the end of a relationship. All of those losses are gut punches that leave us feeling like we're less than or unworthy. The only cure for grief is time.
The most difficult part of grieving are all the little reminders. Everywhere you look, there's something to remind you of what you lost. Their favorite color. A movie you never got to see together. The brand of detergent you always washed your clothes with. A shirt you think they would have loved. A word they often used. A song.
And then there all the changes that come with that loss. A new routine. One less person to speak with. There's no one else who would have appreciated that joke. Those are reminders, too. All those reminders can be overwhelming, and all of a sudden you're standing in the laundry aisle of an unfamiliar store crying over a bottle of Tide.
We must look crazy to the rest of the world.
It sounds bleak, but with time we become accustomed to the absence of what we lost. With time, we learn to accept what happened and to accept that there's no turning back the clock. Hopefully, we learn from the loss and grow. We learn to express our love more openly and more freely because that love may not always be there. We learn to accept our own contribution to that loss (that's a tough one for many). And, if we're doing the work, we learn to adapt and thrive rather than just survive in our new realities.
There's no escaping grief. We all experience it at some point and to some capacity. Someone of us carry our grief with us whenever we go. Others still try run from it, thinking themselves unaffected. Stop running, love. It's gonna catch up with you sooner or later. And that's okay.
There's no preparing for it, either, much to our chagrin. But there's no avoiding it.
To live without grief is to live without love, passion, and warmth.
So cry over that bottle of Tide if that's what you need. The moment will pass, and you'll be okay.
Until the next moment comes. And the next. And the next.
They come like waves, ebbing and flowing. But eventually, the time between moments.of grieving will grow further and further apart, and the grief will lesson.
And then—eventually—you'll stop crying over Tide bottles in unfamiliar stores.