In some ways it's easy to pretend everything is fine. After someone has passed we often hear comments such as: she's doing well, or he's good. If we were to stop and think about such remarks, surely we'd have to question them. Is someone really fine in the weeks and months following the death of a loved one?
Our culture commends fine. It makes the process easier on everyone. If we can return to normal and go about our business as if nothing has happened, we don't have to feel, our own grief or that of our family member, colleague or friend.
Choosing a path other than that can feel like a lonely place to be, but to my mind, it's essential.
For the first few months following my brother's death I boldly took on his words he left me with. I'll treasure his advice forever. It has changed how I am grieving for him and will change how I grieve in the future. But, I will always grieve fully.
Next, I crumbled. I went through the stages of grief in a messy whirlwind of emotion. One day I'd be incredibly sad, the next I'd be fine. Another day I didn't get out of bed, the next I could face life again. The next I'd cry all day off and on, the next I'd feel low. A turbulent time. But all completely normal.
It's only been in the last month that I have come to accept his death. I can now accept he is gone. It has been 23 months.
Until this point I couldn't believe he was really gone. Until this point I kept feeling as though he was going to drive up the driveway any minute. As he did. He hasn't. He won't. I wanted him to.
All of this is the process of grieving. What I know is that it is okay. It is different for everyone. As long as we feel it all right through to the other side, until we can feel in our bones that we are done, that is our process complete. We will then come to a peaceful place of acceptance.