Seemingly out of nowhere I can get hit by a wave of grief, a missing of what has been and will never be again. The scent of Chanel No.5 brings my mother close to me, songs by Julio Iglesias take me back to being in the car with my grandparents and Dutch five spice cookies always remind me of my dad because he always had a cookie jar full of them.
In our society we never stop to think about the timelessness of grief, we have compassion for the people that are left behind but after a couple of months we expect them to get back to normal and the life that’s ahead of them. From my own experience I know that it’s impossible to put a timeline on grief. My mum passed away almost 19 years ago and to this day I can get emotional when I see a loving scene in a movie where a mother hugs her child.
Professionals say that it takes around three years to fully grieve the loss of a loved one and I believe that this is true when you commit to the process and the emotions that come with it. This is however hardly ever the case, many people fear the pain of loss and run away from it by losing themselves in their work, studies, kids, sport or whatever else is there to distract them. Frequently the grieving takes place long after the actual loss and is usually prompted by another life event like a wedding, the birth of a child, the end of a relationship or some traumatic event.
Giving yourself permission to feel the grief is one of the most rewarding decisions you can ever take. It might feel overwhelming at first, but in time you start to notice that apart from sadness there is room for gratitude for the time you got to spend with the ones you’ve lost. In my experience turning towards the grief, really allowing myself to feel it and release it allowed for more room to feel genuine happiness and joy and resulted in a peaceful state of being because I didn’t have to run from my emotions anymore. The moments of sadness that wash over me leave me as fast as they appeared, I just reach for a tissue and make myself a cup of tea. All is allowed and all is well.