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I hate to sound like a cliche car commercial, but we are currently living in unprecedented times. In my case, this past year has been horrific in the number of losses and deaths and missed opportunities I have had to work through. I know this is a pretty common experience for many of my friends. So I want to chat about grief. 

Grief is not restricted to tragic deaths or losses.

This was a very important lesson for me to learn. Do not feel bad for grieving. This can be in response to lost time, “could have beens”, missed days out with your friends, or even dropping your cheesy gordita crunch from Taco Bell that you were really excited to eat. 

We’re gonna get a little melancholy for a second. Grief is perhaps one of the rare constants of life. Happiness comes and goes, but grief stays in your mind for a long while. I like to think of it as a swimming pool in the back of your head, always being filled up. The amount and speed of water that goes in changes with what goes on in your life, but it is always running. Eventually, it’s just too much and the swimming pool overflows. This water floods other parts of your mind while you desperately try to turn it off and make the water stop, but there’s already some damage. It seeps into your everyday life and (I cannot stress this enough) is okay and natural and healthy. It would be more concerning if you didn’t grieve. Grief is the aftermath of caring and loving something but moving on or losing it. You have to hold love in your heart to cause grief. 

The “5 Stages of Grief” is some made-up bologna that just makes you feel bad about your process.

There is no way that some bullet point list is capable of summing up complex human emotion. My grief is all over the place. Sometimes I feel acceptance first and then a few months later the anger and bargaining bust in. Sometimes I just feel angry. It all depends on how you heal best, and if that’s smashing some plates then crying yourself to sleep I’m all here for it. Your grief is your own, don’t let anyone criticize how your brain functions. 

As a quick little tangent, bring the same energy for backing up your grief to your coping mechanisms. Personally, I feel that a 2-liter bottle of my favorite sweet tea and a liter of fake blood would do wonders for my healing process. You do whatever it takes to help you control that overflowing water. Of course, be safe and a little bit responsible so you don’t die, but go have fun and feed that inner you.

I hope you enjoyed this discussion about grief. If there is anything I would like you to leave this article with is the fact that you can trust your brain. Sure, your noggin might be annoying and unhelpful sometimes, but it knows what’s best for you.

Trust your process and get through everything this world throws at you. 

Kass Ricketson is a Civil Engineering Technology major and a Musical Theatre Performing Arts Scholar at the Rochester Institute of Technology. She plans to graduate in 2025 through the CET Honors program, obtaining minors in Film Studies and Sustainable Infrastructure Design. When Kass is not on the streets fighting for justice, she can be found at a local cafe with her close friends or singing her heart out to Broadway tunes. Her passion is sharing vibrant stories that hopefully encapsulate the uniqueness of an individual's life.
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