”My beloved Grandma died suddenly nine years ago when I was living in Cambodia. Three years ago, my other wonderful granny died while I was still working abroad. Later that same year, I lost a close family member, who died by suicide. All of these deaths were unexpected, pulled my world from under me and fundamentally changed my outlook on life.”
Grief taught me that life is full of awful twists as well as magical surprises. The things that hurt us aren’t usually the things we spend time worrying about. I re-evaluated what is important in life and my priorities shifted.
Grief tests all of your relationships. You find some stronger than perhaps you realised and support can come from unexpected places.
However, a lot of people are scared to mention death out of a fear of upsetting you or saying the wrong thing. But saying something is better than nothing and I appreciated my loss being acknowledged.
Do whatever you need to do to feel like you can get to say goodbye. I sat with the closed casket in the chapel of rest and found it gave me the structured space and time alone to converse with my loved ones and tell them the things I wish I had said to them in life.
Grief is not linear or sequential; it is messy. I still get a gut punch of anger or have times when it's easier to be in denial. The sadness never diminishes but life grows around it and you will laugh and be happy again.
About Joanna Wolfarth
Joanna is a writer and researcher. You can follow her on Instagram.