What Grief Really Looks Like

I decided to write on this topic because I am currently experiencing it myself and what better point of view to read from then from someone who is currently undergoing it. Just a short back story on my situation to give you a glimpse of where I’m at.

Ending 2020 we thought was a blessing, we all laughed and kicked 2020 out and welcomed 2021 with joy, little did we know this would be the most difficult year to pass. January 24th, 2021 my oldest brother Manny of 25 years had passed in a tragic motorcycle accident. It was all so unexpected, the accident happened at 12:04 a.m. but we weren’t notified until after 2 a.m. and when all met at the hospital we soon realized that this really was his last moments with us. The doctors said there was nothing more they could do and the only reason his heart was still beating was because he was on life-support. That day still feels like it was only yesterday, I can still see him laying on the hospital bed, unrecognizable. The only thing that has been keeping any of us going and looking forward to the future is awaiting the arrival of his first child, a sweet babygirl due in June.

So now that you understand my situation a little more I can start speaking on my experience with grief. We all know there are the “5 stages of grief” listed as such:

Denial – “This cannot be happening” stage

Anger – “Why is this happening to me” stage

Depression – “Why should I go on?” stage

Bargaining – “I’ll do anything to fix this” stage

Acceptance – “I’m going to be okay stage

Looking at these stages I’m not really sure which stage I personally identify with currently. I feel as if my entire world has shifted and what once was important to me, I no longer care for. My main focus is being there for my niece to make sure she knows how much she is loved.

January has dropped several bombs on me and my family. We all had covid for the first 3 weeks and had to quarantine and then the 4th week we lost my brother. It’s been one thing after another, then 2 weeks after his passing we spent getting all his things in order and making sure his service was something he would have loved. I was very proud and happy with how it turned out, I know he would’ve loved every part of it.

Now that all the busyness is gone I find myself left with a lack of motivation to get back to my daily responsibilities. I find myself feeling lost, not knowing what I want to do with my life, not knowing how to feel. For the first 2 weeks I would identify more with being in the denial stage. Now I feel like I’m in the mix of the anger and depression stages, I know now that there is no “one” stage or feeling, they are not gone through chronologically. I have been going up and down and back through each stage, each day is different.

My brother was a very strong minded individual who did not care what anyone else thought of him, he always spoke his mind and stood up for what he thought was right. He always put his family first and loved what he did and the biker group he was apart of. He was so excited for his first child and was already preparing to be a great father. Sometimes I feel like he’s going to walk in the door at any moment and that he’s just late to the party, like always, or he’s on the way or just in the other room. I hate thinking that I’ll never see him again. He’s been by my side my entire life, I never imagined a life without him here.

I’ve been reading a lot on grief and I can relate to many of the symptoms. I feel very disoriented and I have a hard time concentrating on things and focusing on what’s happening around me. I find myself spacing out and not really hearing what’s being said to me when I try to hold conversations with others. All I can say from my experience so far is that I have a long way to go. I’m grateful for all the memories I have and I know he would not want us to mourn for him, he would want us to celebrate him and be there for his daughter and his family.

So that’s what I’m focusing on. Staying positive and looking forward to meeting my niece. Everyone deals with grief differently and the time it lasts is different for every individual. I know I just have to take it one day at a time. I just want to remind others who are going through something similar that it’s completely normal to feel any emotions you are feeling during a time of grief, it’s important to realize that. Do not feel guilty for having a good day, because you deserve that and don’t let anyone tell you how you “should” be feeling, emotions are raging through you right now and it’s vital that they are expressed and not kept in. Lastly, make sure you have your person to talk through your ordeal with and make sure you find your healthy outlet to relieve your stress.

Please comment any advice you may have during a time of grief and loss, I am open to any positive outlets or personal stories of your own experiences.

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