How to survive your grief

By: Ja'Quise Ross

Grief erupts into your life, rearranging everything

The first weeks and months after an out-of-order death are a world unto themselves. At that initial time of impact, few things bring comfort. Things that brought comfort in the past become flimsy under the weight of this kind of grief.

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The truth is, survival in early grief has a very small circumference. It’s not an ordinary time, and ordinary rules do not apply.

In the first few months of my own grief, I had a list of survival rules. They hung on the wall next to a chair in my kitchen, where I spent hours and hours just trying to breathe. Things that brought comfort in the past become flimsy under the weight of this kind of grief.

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Tend something

This is also on my early survival list. Clean out the garden. Water the plants. Brush the animals. Bake someone a cake. Send a care package. Why this soothed me, I don’t know. I’m sure it has something to do with thinking of others, or giving love, or getting out of myself for awhile.

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Do not turn your anger on yourself

Looking back on this list now, I am somewhat amazed at myself for this one. I wrote: do not turn your anger in on yourself. This is what you are doing when you think you aren’t doing your grief right, that you’re the one messing up your continued connection, that you should be better at this. Notice you’re angry.

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Grief will last a LifeTime

Grief is not just a series of events, or stages or timelines. Our Society places enormous pressure on us to get over loss, to get through the grief. The loss happens in time, in fact in a moment, but its aftermath lasts a lifetime.


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