When our family lost our dog to cancer last year, it was an incredibly painful experience. He had been such an important part of the family- we had him before we had our kids, so he was our first baby. Our children were very attached to him and were in shock for the first few weeks. Grief turned to anger and from anger to sadness but this journey was abrupt, often confusing to them and us and seemed endless. Some days there was just anger, other days tears and sadness. And many many questions. Why us? Why now? What could we have done? Many nights were spent worrying about whether they would be ever able to deal with his loss. Whether we would be able to deal with his passing.
Losing someone can be so traumatic. Often there may not be enough time to process what is happening and how we are reacting. Some time may need to be spent taking care of things and problems solving. Doctors, hospitals, facilities, paperwork and tough decisions. To add to this, taking care of our usual life- home, families, work, school and trying to juggle responsibilities because life keeps moving. At a much faster pace than we can keep pace. It can test our resilience, our ability to withstand stress and our desire to withstand hardship.
People think they understand but no one truly does. This is what makes grief a very personal experience, a lonely journey. We feel it differently and we respond to it uniquely. Even though others may share our loss, we can feel incredibly alone and scared. We may wonder if we will ever experience joy or life? Whether things can ever be the same.
And the answer is– no, things are never the same. But we find a way to be okay with them being the way they are. As strange as that sounds, we heal with time and with the growing acceptance that we MUST find a way to go on. That our journey is different. That our journey begins again.