Signs That my Grief is Still Raw
Thinking terrible thoughts about other people when you’re grieving does not make you a bad person — it makes you a person.
The intensity of grief, for almost everyone, changes over time. It changes in a way that makes living with loss more bearable. For me, what was once constant heart-crushing pain, became something I could carry.
My dad died in 2004 when I was 20 years old, and I believed that the rest of my life would be miserable. I spent nearly 4 years trying to figure out how to function in a world of peers with alive parents. I took extra shifts at my second job so that I would spend less at home. When I was at home in my apartment, I locked myself in my room with the lights off and laid on my futon in silence. Sometimes I would sneak out at night and go for walks, passing houses with the lights on, imagining cheerful and whole families inside.
My grief did, eventually, become more manageable. Thanks mostly to a low-dose of an anti-anxiety medication and a mediocre therapist. With their help, I realized that it was possible to feel joy. That at 24 my life wasn’t over because my 54 year old father’s life was. That tiny bit of hope that came thanks to the help of half of a tiny little pill, was all that I needed to inspire me to try to figure out other ways to feel happier.
I now know that those early years after my dad’s death were filled with signs that my grief was still raw. But as the grief became easier to carry, my feelings and capabilities shifted. Suddenly I could hear someone cry about their sick dog without wanting to poke them in the eyeball.
After my dad’s death, I was forever changed. I will forever miss him, but I was not always sad. With time I accepted what had happened as a part of our story. I felt at peace. When I thought of my dad it was usually in the context of fond memories, and I stopped spending as much time thinking about what he was like at the end of his life,
I am no longer frightened by my feelings.
Life threw me for the worst kind of loop when my sister died unexpectedly 13 years after my dad. I am back to being immersed in raw-grief, but now I know that this is completely normal and totally ok. The only benefit (?) I’ve found from having two important people die is that I am no longer frightened by my feelings. I recognize them for what they are — representative of my great love for my sister.
Maybe you have recently lost someone you love, and you might also be worried about your feelings. Whatever you’re thinking, no matter how terrible you think it is, is ok. And I will bet that there are many others out there thinking the same things as you. Thoughts fueled by jealousy and rage. Wishes for ill-will on people you care about. Angrief.
With that in mind, I present everyday examples of my raw grief: