Grief Journal: 18 months

Today is 18 months since we lost Charlie. Yesterday, I heard three statements about grief I thought I’d share as they really resonated with where I am now. 

“No one gets to tell you how to grieve.”

This comes from the season 5 premier of one of my favorite shows, THE MAGICIANS on SyFy. In the season 4 ender, a major character died. This episode showed the other characters dealing with the loss of their friend. I found it a bit ironic that although this was meant to be a powerful, freeing, supportive statement, in the context of the show it’s quite clear that there is a “right” way to grieve—one that involves finding meaning and purpose in loss, and talking about your feelings. 

While I get that processing your feelings is important, shaming someone who doesn’t want to talk about them with *you* is wrong, even in the closest relationships. And while I understand that many people find comfort in making a horrible loss less awful by taking action that brings meaning, that doesn’t work for everyone (hello, me). Grieving takes time. Everyone’s journey is different. No one gets to tell you how to grieve (this means you, THE MAGICIANS). 

“I don’t know how you just keep plowing forward.”

This was said to me by someone very dear to me, who sees how I cope (or not) on a daily basis. The answer is, I don’t know how I do either, and many days I don’t feel as if I am. But one thing I’ve learned about grief is that even when your entire world has crashed down around you and you just want to crawl in bed and stay there, life goes on. Work needs to be done so you keep a roof over the family’s head and food on the table. Kids need to be loved and parented. Family and friends have their own challenges and pain and deserve your care. So sometimes when it gets really bad you crawl under the covers for a couple of hours and cry, but most of the time you just keep putting one foot in front of the other because you simply must.

“I see your posts and it hurts my heart.”

I’ve mentioned this before, but bearing witness to my grief is one of the kindest things people do. There’s nothing anyone can say or do to make it better—except acknowledge the loss. It sucks. Those of you who knew Charlie have your own grief. Sharing that grief together helps. 

18 months seems like both forever and no time at all. Because honestly, it hurts even more now than it did that day—I just handle it a bit better in the day to day because the shock has worn off. Thanks for being on this journey, for not telling me how to grieve, for helping me move forward, and for witnessing this pain. 

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