Five Things death has taught me about grief by Charlotte Philby.

Photo by Mike Labrum on Unsplash

1. Grief isn't a linear path. It's twisted and rough, with curves and drops that appear out of nowhere. It is so dark at times that it can make you feel like you've lost your way; and then, just when you think you're lost forever, you find yourself in a clearing and in that moment everything is a little bit brighter and you can see again.

2. Nothing is as terrifying as losing someone you love, but amidst that terror, that sharp stinging reminder that life is fleeting and fragile, grief makes us hold tighter to the ones who are left behind. In losing old friends, I have made new ones; in accepting the absence of the ones who made me who I am I have found new parts of myself.

3. In grief I've learnt that those who leave us never really go, but that everyone leaves eventually. Grief carves our names in the bark of trees, for all to see, and, while our back is turned, strikes out every one.

4. Death has taught me that grief is the purest emotion. It is agony and ecstasy; it is the greatest unknown and the only certainty.

5. Grief lights a candle against the image of the ones we love, and waits, patiently, for death to blow it out. Grief teaches us to warm our hands whilst the flame still casts its gentle light.

Charlotte Philby

Charlotte Philby is a London-based author, journalist and broadcaster. Her debut novel, The Most Difficult Thing, will be published by HarperCollins’ Borough Press in July 2019 and is available for preorder now.