I am not over my grief, and I never will be.
And I’m grateful.
Grief is not an emotion that is fleeting like anger or sadness. Some say grief is a process, but I disagree. By calling grief a “process,” the implication is that there is an end. A final moment where you say, “Yup! I’m done now. I don’t miss my dad anymore.”
But that is simply not the case.
My grief is here to stay, and I’d appreciate it if you’d stop asking me to get over it.
In fact, if I’m being honest, I like who I’ve become since I’ve had to process my grief over my father’s death. Grief has made me a better friend when my friends have lost their parents. Through my experience, I know that doing a friend’s laundry during a crisis means more than any lasagna you can shove in their fridge. And I know that funeral flowers just wind up dying and in the garbage, so I show up with wine instead.
Grief has made me more empathetic to strangers. I don’t judge as quickly when a cashier is short with me or when someone cuts me off in traffic because I wonder if they are having a day like I did shortly after my father passed away. The day when I had an anxiety attack in the parking lot at the grocery store and had to abandon my cart because I was crying too hard to lift the bags.
The man who screamed at me that day for not replacing my cart can rot in hell as far as I’m concerned. People who are carrying the burden of grief aren’t wearing T-shirts that say, “Be nice to me, my sister just died.” I’ve learned to practice kindness more often, thanks to grief.
I know not to tilt my head at a PTA meeting and say “How are you doing?” to a friend who has just lost her mother. Because I know she is fucking falling apart, and and it’s all she can do not to break the school windows with the gavel in her hands. Rather, I say “Death fucking sucks” instead. Because it does, and I needed someone to say that to me in the early months. Grief has stripped away my social filter and has made me braver, bolder.
On the day my father died, I became part of a club that I didn’t know existed. The “I’ve Lost a Parent” club members quietly and bravely carry their pain as they go about the business of raising kids, chasing job promotions, and managing a household.
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