What I’ve Learned About Grief

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Friday marked the 11th anniversary of my best friend taking his own life. In that 11 years, many things have changed. We’ve grown up. We’ve moved on. And with all that change, the grief changes, too.

Grief evolves as time goes on. It moves beyond sadness. In the early year’s of grieving Erbie mine morphed into depression. And that wasn’t great. The first years of grief are painful for the most part. But as the years begin to trickle past, the wound heals, and the pain isn’t as dominant. It’s still there, but quieter.

Everyone’s favourite synthezoid once eluded to, grief is simply love persevering. And when we lose love it is painful in the first instance. But with the passage of time it becomes a fond memory, something to look back on and recall when we need it most.

And so for me, what grief is now is an awareness of something missing. It is the lack of something important. But that doesn’t mean it is always sad. Often, it isn’t. Often it is a situation or a context that reminds me of my friend. It is understanding that this part of life is good, but it would be enhanced with his presence.

So, I think that grief is something stronger than memory. It’s ingrained. Whereas we can forget certain things, certain events, and people, we never forget those we have grieved for. They stay with us. They attach to us for the remainder of our lives. and although we may go days, weeks, months without thinking of them, we always come back to them. Something elicits their memory eventually, and they come back to us in those moments.

And so, in a way, I’m thankful for grief. because it ensures that I’ll never forget my friend. Grief isn’t always sad by this definition. Sometimes it is. But more often than not it is a quiet reflection about the person who is gone, and a moment to appreciate what they meant to us.

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