Five Things I've Learnt about Grief & Bereavement

Monday, 27 November 2017
Grief, loss, bereavement, whichever you want to call it, has been a huge part of my life for the last five months following my mums passing. During that time I've learnt a lot about myself, life and also grief & bereavement too. Prior to this, I hadn't really got a clue, and when my mum passed away I went down a road that I had no idea how to walk or journey down. 
Now, five nearly six months down the line I wanted to share some of the things I've learnt about grief, loss & bereavement, and trying to live in the midst of these things.   



1. Tiredness & Fatigue
This has been one of the biggest learning curves for me. I would usually describe myself as a permanently exhausted pigeon rather than a night owl or early bird, especially following my crazy final year at uni. But what I didn't know nor had I anticipated was the impact that bereavement can have upon your tiredness and energy levels. And boy, for me, is it a big impact! I normally sleep for over 8 or 9 hours a night, often more. Yet lately this doesn't seem like enough. If I leave the house for more than 2 hours or so, it totally wipes me out for the rest of that day and sometimes all of the next too. What I've learnt in the last five months is that this isn't just me being lazy. Bereavement can really impact your stamina and energy levels, meaning things that are totally fine and dandy for other people can tire and wear you out super quickly; even if you don't want them too.  


2. People can be blind
Aided by the joy that is social media and the internet, we live in a world that is always connected 24/7, 365. Something I've noticed in the last 5 or so months, is that with a few smiling pictures on Instagram and a lunch with friends posted about on Facebook; people start to think that life is going back to normal for you, and that if you're posting on Insta or FaceyB, then maybe you're alright now. Social media can make us blind to reality, as the majority of us are top of the class when it comes to portraying the life or vibe that we want others to think we have. Social media is a highlight reel, not the bloopers or deleted scenes, but we often forget this when it comes to others. We assume they're fine and doing ok if they've just changed their profile picture to a new smiley one or have just posted about a yummy dinner or cocktail they had. It's really easy to assume someone is doing good as you've seen what they're up to online, but trust me, that'll only be about 10% of the picture of their life. What I've learnt is that people can be easily blinded or fooled by the image we portray on social media, and that sometimes you just have to be more open and real about how you're doing. Otherwise they may stay blind and just continue to assume.  

3. No two experiences are the same
No two humans in this world are the same, and therefore no two experiences of bereavement and loss are either. The way one person handles what they're going through, will be the opposite of how another does. Learning this has taken me some time, and can sometimes really disorientate you when trying to figure out how to live after loss. But you just have to do you, and be you, and feel things the way you do, and others will do the same. 

4. Surprises
When it comes to grief and loss you can never anticipate everything you'll feel or the way you'll react to things. Certain situations and the way you feel in them can often completely surprise, flaw or scare you. Simple things like going out for lunch, writing a birthday card or making a cup of tea can have you, surprisingly, in floods of tears. I've learnt and realised that this is completely natural and normal. You can never be 100% sure how you'll feel or react and sometimes you just have to ride the waves or emotion that come at the smallest things or the times you totally least expect.    

5. Time 
We often have the highest expectations for and about ourselves. We want to go back to normal life or back to work or back to doing things to the standard or level we're used to. In this modern day and age, time can often be a persons biggest enemy, but what I've learnt when it comes to grief and bereavement is that time is sometimes exactly what you need. You may just need to allow yourself the time and space to heal and breathe and re-calibrate without external pressure or in my case, internal pressure from myself. Standing or sitting still in your life and journey may not be something you want to do but it may be just the right thing during a very hard, difficult and intense period of your life.

Love
God Bless 
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