Grief = fear of the unknown
Grief causes us to be unceremoniously evicted from our comfort zone. We are thrown into fear of the future, a future alone with all its implications.
We have to consider a life without, without their noise, their voice, their clutter and irritating behaviours, their smile, their touch and their laugh, their eyes.
Suddenly all this takes on a different hue. Their smell, their touch, their physical being, the food they liked, the music they loved, the stories you shared, only you, the jokes you shared, only you. With death you are alone. Doesn’t matter whether they were your lover, parent, friend or sibling. What they represented in your heart is what matters in grief.
You are the holder of all they were to you, never again will you see, hear or touch them. You will only have memories and digital or physical reminders. Their story as you knew it was individual to the relationship only you had with them. Anyone else who knew them, would have a different story. You may want to share stories, but you may not. You may want your own memories, unpolluted by someone else, by their reaction, and their slightly different opinion.
We are not intended to be alone. We are intended to be safe within a group. We are gregarious creatures. We rely on others to assure us of our place within the world. Within the groups to which we belong, friends, acquaintances, family, colleagues. When we lose someone, who has traditionally provided stability within a role to us, we feel set adrift. We have no point of stability, nothing to tell us how to be, no one to reassure us that we are safe, that we are OK, that we are right. No one to challenge us, no one to share our thoughts and fears with. There may be others available to us, but they are not the one we want. The one is gone and three is no chance of that ever being different, they are gone. Absolutely.
For those of us with faith we may be reassured that we will be reunited in the future. But for now, we are alone and we have no clear knowledge of what that future may be like. Our faith may be tested.
Being alone causes us to experience fear. Sometimes it's the extreme fear of being pursued by a monster, unknown and hidden, sometimes it's a feeling of unquiet, nothing is quite right and everything is slightly different and unpredictable. It can be anything in between these.
Fear causes us to experience fight flight responses. We may want to run, fast and far. We may be invigorated with energy to fight for the one we love, or against injustice which lead to our loss. We may become frozen in fear, unable to act, unable to feel, ice cold and alone.
Grief is individual to us all, it may bring family and friends together in support, or it may force us apart, temporarily or for ever.
We each must tread our own path alone. There are books about the processes of grief but there are no prescribed guides, no two people will respond to grief in the same way.
It isn’t wrong to grieve however we need to be mindful of our physical and mental needs, to keep us and those we love safe. Grief is a process we all must move through, grief become damaging when we are unable to move forward, but we each must take our time to do so as we are ready and able to do so. We must listen to our body, mind and soul for our needs.