The amazing Charlotte Bufton shares five things that she wishes she had known about grief before she experienced it. This is a really powerful post – get in touch if you found it helpful, or if you would like to share your own post on our blog!
1. Grief is personal.
There is no right or wrong way to deal with losing someone you love. It will vary hugely from person to person depending on how long you knew the person, what the relationship was like etc. I think the best possible advice I could give is simply to be kind to yourself.
2. It is okay to ask for help!
This cannot be stressed enough. Not long after my Grandad passed away, I left work one afternoon and, on my way, to the tube station, started to cry and just could not stop. I knew then that I needed to get some help, so after some searching I found a counsellor; it was so incredibly helpful just to have someone to talk to and process how I was feeling. There is absolutely no shame in seeking some outside help during such a difficult time.
3. The people you thought would be there, might not be, the people you didn’t expect, may just surprise you.
Grief can be quite an isolating experience. Losing a parent in my mid-twenties is not something I ever expected to have to go through. For those who may be trying to support or care for a friend I would encourage you to please just reach out, even if you don’t know what to say. One friend sent a card explaining that she wasn’t sure what the right thing to say was but that she would always be there and that meant everything to me!
You are not superhuman, it’s okay to be struggling
4. Take your time to heal and grieve.
There is no schedule for the grieving process. Personally, I feel there is a real issue with the way we address loss in our society; often grief is a subject some can feel uncomfortable with and we expect people to be fine after just a few weeks.
It’s been over two years since I lost my Grandad and 21 months since my Mum died, as time goes by the overwhelming sadness and loss has given way to thankfulness for the memories that I have… However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t have days where those feelings surface again, when I would give absolutely anything to speak to them again. Be patient with yourself and your emotions.
5. Grief does not always express itself as sadness.
Especially because losing Mum was so sudden, at first, I was just in shock and then came anger. I was losing my temper over the smallest of things and generally just irritable for months on end. For everyone who put up with me during this stage, thank you for your patience!
Grief can take a toll on you physically and mentally in ways you might not expect. Take each day as it comes and make sure you give yourself a break. You are not superhuman, it’s okay to be struggling, it’s okay to need some time to process your feelings and at the end the people who truly love you will always be there for you.