Recently, a new friend (made on Twitter, bless it) has had a terrible shock and has been grieving.
My heart bleeds for her as hers bleeds for her friend who is fighting for life, and it made me think that it might be time to share some things I have learned in recent years about grief.
The first is that grief is almost never what you think it will be.
Before I had ever lost someone, or had to watch someone I loved suffer, I guess I thought grief was how it appeared in movies. Not that it’s portrayed the same way all the time in movies, but the point was that I think I thought that grief was something that you could see – in tears, in white faces, in rages, in talking – and that it was something limited. Movies end, after all. None of that is very sensible, when you think about it, but I guess the point was that I hadn’t really thought about it. Not much.
Before I’d experienced it, I didn’t know that grief can happen before a person dies and that death isn’t the only cause of grief. You can grieve for loss of function, for loss of hopes, for changes that they didn’t want to make. You can grieve for the hardship inflicted on their families by their suffering. You can grieve for their anger, frustration and pain. You can also grieve for your own.