Why Grief Is Not Black And White

Written By Alexa Murray

Author Bio: Daydreaming journalism student. Taking it day by day. Hopeful writer.

Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.
— Vicki Harrison

Before my mother passed away, I had this succumbed idea of the grieving process. It would start with a state of devastation. You wouldn’t be able to leave the house, go to work, or even pick up the phone. But with that, support and love would follow. As the funeral commences you would realise how many people you had behind you, and what a strong support network you have in your life. 

But that's not how it happened. Grief isn't black and white. It isn’t losing someone you love, feeling somewhat lost, but things getting easier each day. No one’s grief journey is the same.

My mother died nearly two months ago now, but I’ve only cried twice. At the funeral, I felt like I didn’t have the ability to cry- in fact trying to force a tear out instead. I think it was a state of numbness- an inability to actually fully experience or feel the consequences of loss. To this day, I am still somewhat in that numbed state. I think it's true what they say- grief changes people. At times it’s frightening, a cruel mistress in the darkest sense of the word. 

The physical and emotional stress process of grief may overcome you when you least expect it. Not when you’re in bed, late at night. But at an inconvenient and somewhat embarrassing time- like when you’re asking for directions to the train station, or when you’re at a bar drinking with friends. You will find yourself crying on the shoulder of someone you least expected, because something, somewhere, will remind you of the person you have lost and thus bringing you back to the reality that that person is no longer there.