Grief isn’t something you overcome

Laynie Clark, Assistant Arts and Life Editor

There are five stages of grief, or so they say. Unfortunately, grief is not as linear as people make it out to be — it is one of the most consuming emotions to ever exist. The worst part of grief is that it is never an emotion that can be expected or prepared for; it comes in all forms and is expressed through various coping mechanisms.

This past year has taught me that death is inevitable and the grim reaper will come knocking when you least expect it. You can imagine my shock when it showed up and stole my dad at the age of thirty-eight. My father’s passing was the turning point of my life and actually one of the best things that could have happened. Like many narcissists, my father was the kind of man that could win over a crowd with his charismatic charm and his witty jokes. He seemed like the perfect guy, except for the fact that he was a raging, narcissistic abuser behind closed doors. Though, most people didn’t know that. 

When he eventually passed due to a horrific accident, it was like my heart didn’t know what to feel. There was a part of me that was excited to see how things were going to change —  how my life was going to improve — but there was still a pang of heartbreak buried deep within. There would be nights where the sadness was so overpowering that I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t even speak. The emotion would flood my body, my soul, my entire being until I was drowning in it. Like I said before, it was all-consuming. Eventually, I would pick myself up and wipe away the tears. After the tears always came the guilt. I would feel guilty for being sad because he did terrible things to me and my family; he didn’t deserve my sadness, right? Well, there is some truth there.

Whether I like to admit it or not, that man played a massive role in my growth as a child and even still as an adult. It is okay for me to mourn him, even if I am only mourning the person I wish he was. That sadness that I feel is valid, which is good because truthfully that sadness is going to be there forever. People don’t talk about this a lot, but you never heal from grief and it took me a long time to come to terms with that. My grief is now part of me and it was something that I wished to remove until I finally learned to accept it, to be one with it. 

There is no right or wrong way to handle grief. Thus, there is never a reason to be mad at yourself or beat yourself up for it because it is an emotion that you absolutely should be feeling — whether you want to or not. The best thing that my grief taught me is that I need to be kinder to myself, especially in moments like this because I am all I have. So, take this as your reminder to ease up and allow yourself to feel whatever it is you need to feel because it is valid.