Grief is a topic that is so difficult to talk about and to go through. Everyone’s experience with grief is unique and hard in its own way, and it is so easy to feel completely alone when managing it. I wanted to share my personal experience with grief to the person who may be feeling a similar way as me and is looking to feel less alone in their journey.
I have been in the process of grieving my dad’s health for about 8 years now and it took me years to realize that someone doesn’t have to die for you to be valid in grieving them. My dad was diagnosed with ALS when I was 12, and since then it’s been a scary journey of not knowing what the next day will hold. My story began when I realized I could lose my best friend at any moment and how fragile life truly is. This was the beginning and I was so young I had no idea how to process any of what I was feeling because I have had very little life experience at this point.
It continued on when I was grieving the lack of stability in my life. I would come home from school or a friend’s house and not know if I was coming home to an ambulance at the house or not. I lost the comfort of having a stable home due to this illness. This continued on when he got a tracheostomy and I lost the ability to hear his voice and hear him speak. This all came along with the loss of being able to move and becoming paralyzed from the neck down. I know I didn’t lose as much as he did and it took me a long time for me to realize it’s okay to be sad because I am grieving my dad’s well being and health, and even if I am not him and cannot imagine how he feels, my feelings are just as valid.
It took me until two years ago for me to realize that along with my sadness through the years came with my own type of grief. I didn’t realize how valid these feelings were and that I didn’t need to feel guilty for having these human responses to what was happening in my life. After I realized this, I was able to begin a healing process. I am still in the process of grief because each day is so different, but I know how to manage it better. I know I can vocalize to those around me if I’m having a hard day and that they will be there for me to get through it and I don’t have to feel bad about saying how I feel. It isn’t easy by any means, but acknowledging what I’m feeling was incredible because it made me feel more at peace with my emotions.
Grief is hard to put in words because it is hard to process in general from individual to individual. I hope that anyone who reads this and is at any stage in their journey finds solace in the fact you are by no means alone. I’m proud of anyone who is going through their grieving journey and it does get better no matter how hard it feels at this moment in time. Sending so much love to anyone who needs the extra hug right now.