Updated: May 2, 2019
I'm not even going to begin to say that grief is the same for any two people. Besides each situation or event being specific to the person, on a soul level what someone is meant to take from a given circumstance also plays a role. It dictates how the person comes out the other side, based on how they are meant to grow going forward. There's no bad or good, or better or worse, it just is. This world needs all kinds of people, personalities and strengths, so how someone grieves or deals with a tough situation is always playing out exactly how it's supposed to.
Going through losing my husband to suicide, puts me into a category of grief that tends to bring it's own set of specific emotions and feelings. Add in finding him, that we were together for 15 years, have a son together and not having any sign he was struggling, until the week before he died; it was a lot that kept rolling in. One thing after another in a very short period of time.
Now that doesn't mean my grief is anymore justified than the next persons, it's just as difficult for someone who loses a family member who is struggling with illness, or suddenly in an accident. There are a lot of similarities no matter the situation. I've found a couple things are pretty consistent. You are missing the person themselves, their company, laughter, smile, smell, what role they played in your life, their presence, or even just having the ability to call them up and hear their voice. Something so final is hard to grasp, what good comes from that? Or can we look at it another way? Being grateful for the time we had with them, what they brought to our life and what their passing has now done for our life going forward.
It's been mentioned to me, what we really miss is the spot(s) that person filled and how that FEELING made us feel. We miss the feeling, the person in the physical form was the deliverer of that. I believe that. I did find moments though where I did miss Bob, but for nothing more than just missing seeing his face, hearing his voice or even just seeing him drive up in his truck. Yet none of those things were things he was doing for me, nor was I getting anything out of it. I think there are aspects of our brain that even though emotionally and mentally we are doing the work, it takes some time for our brain to catch up. Especially if it's someone who has been a part of our life for a long time.
Suicide has it's own type of anger, the normal grieving anger and the anger that this person you are missing made a choice. You could argue that they weren't in the right state of mind or struggling, but nonetheless they have a right to make their own choices. It's one of the choices though, where the consequences of their actions affect those left behind most.
There are SO MANY aspects to grieving but something we all have in common is we feel like we have lost a piece of our pizza. Hear me out. Now not only do I love pizza, (Please don't ever ask any of my friends about my college days and pizza. In short, you could lure me into a lions den if you just mentioned the word.) but it's a great analogy that played a huge role in the biggest shift in my healing. Um and it's delicious. Ok, moving on...
If you look at the attributes that make up relationships we have with people, it could be described as a pizza box. The attributes that are filled by people are the slices. Some people hold more pieces than others, but when we lose people, whether indefinitely or just grow apart, we think those pieces are gone forever and never going to be filled again. What we fail to see is that everything is always in balance and those pieces never leave our pizza box. So when the person holding pieces is no longer around, other people pick up those pieces. A friend, family member, stranger, co-worker, child, pet, etc. What we miss is that if we feel like we are without something, we might just not be noticing where that piece might be held. You'd really be surprised how comforting, true and mind blowing this can be when you start to notice it. Overnight it shifted my heart. Being a single mom, raising a boy that in my eyes had a huge hole that would never be filled...boy was I wrong. This week, pay attention to how you're feeling and where you might feel a lack of something. See if you can notice where it's popping up in another area or that you could be getting that filled by another person you might not have expected.
Grief is a good thing. It's taught me a lot about myself and the amazing love and support around me. It also makes you truly value your interactions, experiences, people in your life and the list goes on and on. Like anything, we have a choice on how we want to see things and I'd much rather live my life with this perspective. It's freeing. Believe me :)