By Alexandra Greenfield, LMFT, MA
In the beginning, grief was a tsunami:
All-consuming, destructive, powerful, and
Loss is a (natural or unnatural) disaster to the people that it impacts directly. It has a profound, life-changing impact on the people it impacts.
I remember the tsunami like it was yesterday. (It was three years ago)
Me. Sitting on my couch. Feeling as if I was dying. Even breathing felt difficult.
It was like being heartbroken a thousand times over. My chest felt like a brick was weighing on it. My throat felt like it would explode into tears at any moment- and it did.
I remember thinking: “Why didn’t anyone prepare me for this? Why don’t people talk about this?”
I don’t have an answer to that question. But I do know that talking about it helps a little bit- even if only for a moment.
After my dad passed, time stood still.
Quite literally, it felt like I was frozen in time.
The world around me kept spinning. People, and life as I had always known it, carried on.
Me, I stayed on the couch. I let the feelings crash over me.
It was a physical experience, grief. It impacted every fiber of my being. Every molecule of my soul.
I was angry. Angry towards the people that continued on with their lives. I felt guilty about this.
Now I don’t.
Now I understand it to be valid, to be okay.
While the world kept spinning, I stood still in my little cocoon of grief.
I knew I needed to be there for a bit longer. I wasn’t ready to leave.
The pain was too great.
Slowly, I began to stomach food again. To breathe with a bit of ease.
Life never went back to normal again- but it transformed into something new.
I was living a new life without my father or parents here on earth.
The pain never left me, really. But it did change.
She (grief) shows up time and again. Sometimes in expected ways and other times, completely out of left field.
I have come to know her as an old friend of mine.
She visits me from time to time and when she does, I try to welcome her in- rather than send her away.
I know that when I spend some time with her, with my feelings, my sadness, my loss, my pain— she will return home to where she resides.
And I will carry on.