As my journey with grief continues to evolve, from the early days of the deep dark raw pain through the middle stage of learning to cope and adapting, to the current stage of defining the new look on life, I have often received quotes with the central theme being that no one really knows what it is like to be living with grief until they themselves have experienced this enormous pain. As much as many of these messages have resonated with me at times I now hold a slightly different view. My view is that these messages serve to alienate and separate those living with grief. They remind and reinforce the loneliness faced day in and day out. They draw attention to the empty space in your life, a gaping abyss that can never be filled by another person. These messages build a comfort around being uniquely different, a part of a separate clan almost a sense of being divided from the rest of humanity. This for me at least is a very dangerous place to live.
If this COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything it should be that we need community. Humans are designed for community living. The message of separatism only creates a divide. Perhaps they were created with a sense of helping those who live with grief to cope, a way to say it’s okay to be misunderstood, and perhaps this is a workable option for the short term survival. I however I am of the view that we need to reintegrate into society if we are to have long term survival, grief need not be your identity. Grief should not define who you are. You are more than your grief, you have so much more to offer those around you than grief and grief alone.
If humans were to be separated due to each of our unique experiences that no one else could understand unless they had experienced the same or similar journey then living on this planet would either be very boring or very scary (oh it already is with certain groups claiming superiority over others).
So I choose to acknowledge that there is a place for grief in my life, sometimes visiting me more strongly than on other days, however I refuse to allow it to become my identity. I know I am part of a far greater community.