Whilst she remembered how it felt to slowly lose small pieces of what they had; she had no explanation for why she had never tried to stop it. A part of her wished she had, whilst the other wondered if they’d found comfort in the moment that they stopped co-existing because there was already anticipation of it happening. She felt plagued with guilt for grieving someone who wasn’t truly gone but the cavity inside her chest begged her to acknowledge that she’d lost a friend.
When she heard the news, she knew that she would never forget it. There was something so numbing about hearing about someone’s death to having to navigate the world without them. She began to notice the little things: the absence of phone calls and so much of that person now spoken in past tense. Burned into her mind were the images of those closest to her holding back tears and the sounds of sobbing when they thought no one could hear them.
When she stopped enjoying things that she once loved, she knew that was only the beginning. She could spend hours curled up in bed and feel nothing about her low productivity. It was as though her sense of individuality was fading to grey. Although when she was with others, she could pretend. This didn’t change the fact that when she was alone, she didn’t know who she was and the spark that once drove her, fizzled out again.
The thing about loss is that it cascades. You see the initial impact and assume it ends there but almost all grief becomes masked. You’re seemingly fine until you’re sat alone (days, months or even years later) and suddenly you feel like you might cry. All the feelings you’d rushed through before flow in all at once as if the wall keeping them out has suddenly collapsed and though you might try to stop it, they slip through your fingertips.
Our biggest mistake is not allowing ourselves to feel. We subject ourselves to such a high standard and forget that there’s no timer on grief, no matter what it is you’re grieving whether it is the loss of a friendship, the death of a family member or losing your sense of self.
She couldn’t count the amount of times she’d been told to ‘be strong’ but rarely, if ever, did anyone tell her to cry for hours, scream if that’s what would help or just make nonsensical ramblings until she felt she’d left nothing unsaid.
As Katherine Weber wrote: “Life seems sometimes like nothing more than a series of losses, from beginning to end.” And though she knew that, she also knew that she would come out the other side. She just had to remember to allow herself to feel and to never forget how she’d once felt.