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Mental Health

In the Past Year, This is What I’ve Learned About Grieving

April is over, and with this month came a bittersweet day for me, as it marked the one-year anniversary of a family member very near and dear to my heart passing away. In a way, I’m happy that I made it through it. I’m happy that I made it through my first birthday, her birthday, first Christmas, and other important dates knowing that she’s still with me but in a different way. So, I just wanted to share a few brief things I’ve learned over the past 12 months, in hopes that it can help someone out there. 

One thing I’ve learned is that grief doesn’t follow the course it does in movies. I think I’m stronger than I was a year ago, and I’ve learned a lot, but everything is still a work in progress. There are still moments that are tough. So, if you ever lose someone or grieve over something, please don’t be disappointed with yourself if you have bad days even when other people assume you’ve passed those moments or bad days in the middle of good ones when you weren’t expecting them. Grief is a weird process, and however you feel is okay. There’s no set process or emotions you need to experience in exact times or places in order to make your feelings and process legitimate.

Also, the quote or something similar to “you never know what people are going through, so always be kind” gets thrown around a lot, but over this past year I’ve become a firm believer in that. I still find it’s so easy to assume that because of the happy image and persona people put out on social media, that everyone else is living their fullest life and at times I’d get upset with myself for not being like them, but this isn’t true. Everyone is really going through some type of battle that can be hidden, so try not to compare yourself to others. Additionally, this is why it’s so important to be kind to everyone when you can, because maybe it’s cliché, but small things like people checking in on me really helped.

Lastly, and yes, I know that due to the current state of the world, you might be getting annoyed with being stuck with your family in close proximity, but while you still have the chance, really cherish their company. I still remember the feeling this person I love, her hand clasped in mine, and I still remember her hugs, the sound of her voice singing every 80’s song imaginable on the car radio, the feeling of my fingers running through her hair when I got to braid it, her shoulder to lean on, and so many other things. These things are invaluable to me today, so if you have the chance, tell your family members you love them. Gifting them with your love as much as possible will be worth it for both them and you, I promise.

Hailey Hummel

Washington '23

Hailey is a current junior at the University of Washington, majoring in Public Health—Global Health and minoring in Law, Societies, and Justice. She loves hiking, traveling around the state of Washington and the world, making art, playing piano, taking pictures, and spending time with her friends.
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