I’ve been thinking about what topic to write about for a week now. I decided to write about grief. I’ve been dealing with my own and have been seeing so many lives lost in our derby community lately that I figured it’s an appropriate time. This morning I finally had some time to write down the words that have been building in my head all week (anyone else use this technique?) and while perusing Facebook I saw the announcement of another death of a derby friend.
Facebook is an interesting place. Some use it as an expression of their emotions and others like me avoid it. Avoidance is a personal theme in my life, I’ll explore later in this blog.
First let’s define grief. Straight from the dictionary: deep sorrow, especially that caused by someone’s death. It does not necessarily have to involve death but usually will.
There are stages of grief. (https://www.helpguide.org/articles/grief/coping-with-grief-and-loss.htm)
Everyone grieves differently. There’s no right or wrong way. The stages do not have to be in order and you may repeat a stage anytime. You also may not go through any or all of the stages. It’s not that cut and dry.
One of my best friends was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer 5 years ago this December. She fought her ass off until she couldn’t, and she passed away in September. I was devastated from the day of the diagnosis to the day she left us but I promised her that I would not treat her differently now that she had cancer. We would make jokes about her dying, laugh, cry, get mad etc., and we remained hopeful although we always knew what was to come. Every day since her passing, there is a meme I want to share, a funny reel, or just a moment I want to let her know what happened in my day. She is still on my Netflix, my pinned texts and we still get mail for her at our house (she lived here off and on for a bit while transitioning from one town to ours for work). My TimeHop/FB memories are filled with her beautiful face. I’m not one to cry a lot, or show sad emotions. I love avoidance. Any behavior or action I can take to escape difficult situations is my go-to. I’m completely aware of my coping mechanisms and I do try to fix them, but for me this is what my grievance looks like. I accepted the fact that this amazing human would only be in my physical life for a short period of time, but I don’t want to deal with overwhelming sadness . . . that is the reality of it.
I paused on this blog’s completion because I wanted to go to my other friend’s celebration of life. It was at our favorite bar. Due to Covid and life in general, I had not seen some of these folks in a very long time. I kept saying leave it to our friend to get everyone back together again. I drove 3 hours through a tropical storm to be there. It was an amazing gathering and a wonderful celebration. We laughed, cried and I definitely drank too much but it was worth every second. Hugs are truly the best medicine. Seeing the faces of people I’ve spent so much time with in the past certainly helps me heal.
This weekend I’ll go to Suzanne’s formal memorial and another friend and I will be hosting a party for her on her birthday weekend in December. Being surrounded by those that I love and loved my friends holds so much healing power for me.
Grief counseling is available in person or online. You should seek help if your pain is overwhelming, lasts for a long time or is affecting your daily life.