The Burden Called Grief

It’s been five years. Depending on who you ask, five years can be a short or long period of time. In your early twenties, five years is a lifetime. In the last five years so much has changed and happened. I have graduated from college, traveled parts of the world, quit a job, wrote a blog, started another blog, and I’ve grown up.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the crushing burden I carry around called grief. Five years is not enough time to get over losing my Brother. A lifetime will never be enough to get over losing him. Because grief is not something you “get over”, it is something you live with. You cope with it and carry it around for the rest of your life. It never completely fades away. 

What is grief exactly? People mostly speak about how to cope and deal with grief but they never explain to you how it feels. For those of you fortunate enough not to have faced it, let me try my best to explain. It’s a yearning, a sadness, a loneliness, and a pain. It is an ache in your chest and a feeling in the pit of your stomach that nothing will ever be the same.

You just want them. You want to see them. You want to hold them. You want them to be here, now, or somewhere in the future. The moment you realize, for the first time or for the millionth time that you never will be able to do anything with them again, the pain hits.

That is grief.

What comfort is there for it? Sadly, there isn’t. You just sit there in this feeling. You sit in the pain and sadness. All you can do is wait for the feelings to pass. When it finally does, you continue to move on, still carrying the burden.

I call it a burden because it is a heavy load that only you bear. Even though you and I may be grieving over the same person, our loads are different. The way you feel is different. The way we will each cope will be different. Some people will cry and cry for days. Other people will drink and take drugs. Some will talk to friends or a specialist. Some people just ignore it and try to forget.

Trust me there are times you want to forget. Because for a few moments, you want to not bear the crippling burden. Remembering brings all the terrible feelings back, the familiar ache and longing return. Anything and everything can be a trigger of a memory, from the places you go to the food that you eat. The weight of your burden is slowly pushed down on you more and more until inevitably, the grief becomes too heavy and you collapse. You feel the debilitating pain all over again.

“It’s madness and it’s torture.”

Though at times you want to forget it all, you also do not want to forget a thing. You feel the impact they had on your life. You relish in the laughs, the talks, the feelings, and the closeness of your relationship. When you start to run away, the memories fade and as the memories fade you race back to catch them. You feel the constant pull between wanting to relive everything and forget everything at the same time. It’s madness and it’s torture.

If this inner torture was not bad enough, there are always people who will remind you. They force you to remember in the moments of escape. They say they are sorry. They do things for you because they want to make you feel better. They want to comfort you in your time of need.

When in all actuality, they do it so that they can make themselves feel better. For them to know that they did something for you. Their pity mixed with not knowing what to do turns into guilt. That guilt makes them do things that they don’t have to. Things that you do not even want them to do. It is just another unavoidable reminder. It is another thing added to the burden.

I just want to yell at people “just fucking stop”. Yell at them to just leave me alone but you can’t. You can’t yell, you can’t scream, you can’t be selfish in these moments when it’s all you want to be. You can’t do anything accept bear more burden. You smile and feign appreciation for those people who are doing nice things for you, but do not know how it really feels. While bearing this burden, no one asks what you want. They just assume what you need.

I just want to be left alone. Not asked about it ever again. The longer I bear the grief, the stronger I will become. Hopefully, I can teach you how to bear yours but I have am no where near a teacher yet. Allow me to be broken. Allow me to fix myself. Five years is not very long. Five years is too short to fully comprehend what my loss even means.

Now that I’ve told you candidly what I want, stop assuming what I need. You will just be adding to my burden called grief.

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”

– Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Grief is an unbearable burden that we all eventually face. How heavy that burden is depends on the person and the situation. Even I, who have been through it myself have no idea how to deal. I honestly don’t think there is a way. 

The only good you can take out of grief are lessons. Those lessons will help you grow. Hopefully into someone even more beautiful.

© 2016, Asian on the Outside, All Rights Reserved

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