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Articles > Life April, 10, 2021

Silent thoughts and accepting grief

Lauren Herd
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I was going to try and write you all a positive article about self acceptance, but I think it’s important to address the fact that things aren’t always positive. This being said, you can find light in the darkness.

A good example of this is the yin and yang and its associated symbol ☯. It demonstrates how there is bad in the good and good in the bad, which provides balance in the chaos. We need this balance; the bad makes us appreciate the good instead of taking it for granted.

Another example that’s more pop culture based is the movie ‘The Book of Life,’ which is centred around Latin American culture and the day of the dead. It astutely describes a ‘Land of the Remembered’, where all the souls who are spoken about and thought about reside, and the ‘Land of the Forgotten’, where all the souls who had been forgotten go to pass on further. This philosophy has helped me a lot as it made me realise that it’s important to keep talking about those who have died and remember them warmly.

I’m not a professional by any means when it comes to grief or processing anything like that; I just want to offer comfort to those who need it and say that you’re not alone.

One thing I’ve discovered is that we all process grief at different speeds and we all have different reactions. Anger and disbelief are the most common reactions as we take our emotions out on other people and other things. Just because someone else is calm about the situation doesn’t mean you also have to be.

Scream, shout, cry. Don’t force yourself into a box where you expect yourself to do the same things as everyone else who is grieving. We all have our own ways of processing it and it’s important that we act on them. I write a lot of poetry and songs and channel the energy into a positive outcome so I have a healthy outlet for my emotions.

Moreover, it’s important not to suffer alone or in silence. I’ve found it’s freeing to speak about the situation with a friend, whether that was setting everything out neatly or sending a stream-of-consciousness text message about how I was feeling without context. I understand that one of the most frustrating things someone can hear is, “If you need to talk, I’m here”, because it is not always that easy to talk about. When people tell me that, I’m always questioning whether they mean it or they say it because they know I wouldn’t reach out.

I know it’s hard to speak about our situations and grief because it always seems so personal and sacred and we don’t want to break that vow of silence. Keeping it all in and pushing your emotions down is like shaking a bottle of Coca-Cola; one day, it will pop. We need to express ourselves and our emotions when we experience grief so we don’t end up popping.

There are 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance

Don’t be afraid to go through these in a different order, and don’t be afraid to be stuck in one stage. In this case, the end goal is what truly matters, not how we get there. Processing grief isn’t a sprint, it’s a walk through a forest of memories; we’re allowed to take our time and enjoy the view. Don’t be afraid to visit places you’ve been before; allow yourself to be in any stage you want as often as you need. It is a long road to acceptance and there is no shortcut.

In the meantime, take as many pictures as you can with everyone you love — live life to the full so you can look back fondly on those memories. Have conversations about philosophy and how you think the world will look in ten years, go roller skating, learn how to crochet. The memories are what matter; goodbye is not forever, it’s just until you meet again.


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