I got a lot of prep the first day on what grief would be like. Major points being: to let yourself feel it, be careful not to do anything drastic, and that you’re not alone. Hearing from other people who have gone through and understand grief was a huge help. I’m the type who knows what a huge help it is when you know something you’re going through and feeling is normal.
The easy one was to let myself feel it. I’m not very good at suppressing emotions… well that’s mostly because I’ve long ago created a habit of not suppressing them. I need to write about them, sit with them, go through them carefully like sifting through papers. Over the last few years, I’ve been learning how to process them and break them down. So it’s no wonder that after my mom died, I have been going through this process. I never want to bottle up my emotions for them to one day come out in an unhealthy manner.
The part about being careful not to do anything drastic… This is something that is different for everyone (hell, all grief is experienced differently). Some people can truly ruin their lives in a moment of grief. Or lose their life. Now, that’s worst case scenario, but it is very real. I’ve heard about it before and knew to be extra cautious, to be extra mindful of any signs that are abnormal to my usual behavior. I’m nervous to talk about this next part, but in the spirit of being honest, transparent, and hopefully help another person by talking about it… I’ll stop stalling and just get to it.
The thing that was most alarming to me was that I had these very strong urges to cut myself. Everywhere. I have never been one for self harm, I have never tried it and have never wanted to before. This was definitely abnormal and it was scary to me. I didn’t do it, but the thoughts generally went as such: You’ll feel better if you do this. That’s a lie. I know I will not feel better after. I know it’s a quick fix for some, but it’s not healthy and I am actually one who avoids most things that could possibly end in physical injury or physical pain.
The mind will do strange things. This was no different and I’m glad I had the foresight to expect abnormal thoughts and the foresight to abstain from acting on them. It was for about a week that I felt those urges. I was honestly horrified. I never would have expected those thoughts to pop into my mind. But why? I’m still processing that part. I don’t know why, from the death of my mom, my mind would think that the only way to feel better about it would be to defile, harm, mutilate every part of my body.
I have a guess that it’s because this grief is biological, that I am experiencing it because she is half of my genetic makeup, half of me. She is inside me and to not feel the grief would mean to cut my body up. I don’t know… that’s the best answer I could come up with. Bringing ourselves back to the topic of drastic measures, this would be one for me. This is one I feel very strongly against doing and always have.
If I could say any word of advice about the grieving process, I would definitely pass on to look out for abnormal thoughts and to not act on them. Be careful not to do anything drastic. Those scars would be on me for quite possibly the rest of my life if I’d have acted on those urges. I’d have a permanent reminder and would most likely spiral more thereafter just because of that, of seeing them each and every day. Grief is temporary. It will pass. As a metaphor for the many alternative negative things someone could do, those scars would be forever, a permanent mark on your life. Please hold on. Just hold on and don’t act on those thoughts. You won’t regret it.
The reminder that you’re not alone in grief (or any feeling ever) is so completely true. Not everyone that you know may have gone through losing a parent, but there are so so so many out there that have. They’re the ones to reach out to, most importantly. They’re the ones who can tell you what you might feel and can tell you an honest story of what their experience was like. Their stories will help. It is definitely a hard process, but you will learn a lot and become stronger after. You will then be the one to help those friends of yours who lose a parent.