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When Grief Doesn’t End

May 5, 2016


I’m very clear that death is a part of life, but what I wasn’t prepared for was how many deaths I would actually experience. I started “going through” so much at one point that I had to take a step back because I almost seemed numb to it. But one thing I had to allow myself to do was to grieve my losses. I’ve been raped, I’ve been abused, and I’ve experienced financial devastation. Even with those extreme situations, the longest period of “grief” I’ve experienced started in 2005.

March 3rd I had a major surgery where I was told that I would never talk again (thyroid surgery – the lump was on my windpipe), a few days I ended the relationship between me and my then-fiance’, two weeks after that my daughter’s father died in a motorcycle accident and the day of his funeral I received word that the man I initially thought was my daughter’s father (no judgment zone) died from Cancer. Fast forward to August of that same year, and I lost my temporary job one day and the next day was evicted from my apartment of 5 and 1/2 years. I found myself homeless with my 4-year-old daughter and experienced more losses than I could count. Loss of hope. Loss of faith. Loss of self-esteem. Loss of joy. Loss of will. Loss of energy. Loss of identity. Most times I didn’t know who I was or what I was doing…I simply existed.

Still while “simply existing”, I began to experience restoration. I ended up getting a part-time job that turned into a full-time job with benefits. This job helped me get into my own place after 7 months of being homeless. I even reconciled with my father after 29 years though the last time he saw me I was 10 months old. And then I found myself in a beautiful relationship that was leading to marriage. Or so I thought…

Eventually this beautiful relationship became abusive and I found myself going back to existing again. I had a fake smile, fake joy, fake hope and fake energy. I was tired. I was so numb to the abuse because I experienced it before and in an unhealthy way thought it was normal. In March of 2010, he called our wedding off 2 weeks before the date. Yes, I was devastated because I honestly didn’t want to experience another loss. Well, May of the same year I lost my job as a school teacher, August the same year our relationship finally ended altogether, and September of the same year my Mom fell ill. No worries. I had to fight. So I fought to find a job and I made sure I went to see my Mom as often as possible. What we thought was a stroke clearly had to be something else because she could talk, sit up and even do crossword puzzles, but her legs wouldn’t work quite right. To make a long story short, we eventually discovered that she has the progressive form of Multiple Sclerosis. Seems like it happened overnight, but my mother went from having a bounce in her step to not being able to walk at all. More loss. And more loss.

I finally secured a full-time position and was looking forward to getting back on my feet fully. It would allow me to go see me Mom a little bit more frequently and help me deal with some of the financial backlash I received as a result of my wedding being called off so late. But because I was a day late and a dollar short, I lost my house to foreclosure and the following year my Mom lost her legs. More loss.

And here we are in 2016 and my year started off putting a HUGE smile on my face! After celebrating my 39th birthday, getting my first book published and securing a new position at a university, I was excited. No more, no less…just excited. Then on March 27th, my Mom’s best friend/fiance’ passed due to Stage 4 Lung Cancer. Just last week, my childhood best friend was murdered in a domestic violence incident. And then yesterday I received word that my uncle passed. He was my Mom’s youngest brother. More like a big brother to me since we were only 10 years and 2 weeks apart. Devastating loss.

So what do you do when there seems to be a never-ending period of grief? I find myself questioning the authenticity of my friendships/relationships because those that I clung closely to haven’t even picked up a phone to call or even text for that matter. A sense of abandonment is the worst feeling in the world while grieving. Especially given my history of relationships ending in parallel to experiencing other major losses. It really is disheartening for the people that you love to not reach out to you while your heart is hurting and while you are experiencing so much pain. *Below are some links that may offer some help to those that don’t quite know what to do when grief hits as hard as it does.*

  1. Be honest with yourself. You may not know what you need in the beginning, but you when you do you may realize that you are going to need different things from different people. If they are absent, it will hurt but don’t allow their absence to rush your grief process.
  2. Take ALL the time that you need to grieve and mourn. Whether it is a physical death of a loved one, the loss of a job, a relationship ending, a health issue or the zest for life; don’t allow anyone to discount your grieving. It may seem trivial to some, overwhelming to others, but needed for you.
  3. Don’t beat yourself up. Even the best of soldiers get battle weary, and you have the right to get weary. Cry if you have to, scream if you must, but you are allowed this time to be weak.
  4. Find the one thing (or things) that brings you peace in the midst of your storm and cling to it. I am a Christian, so I cling to my faith and my relationship with God. Because truthfully, it is HARD!
  5. Seek help if the burden of grief is overwhelming. It is really okay to seek the help of a professional if venting isn’t enough. We tend to turn to our family, friends and loved ones when we are in pain, but our pain may be too much for them to deal with.

Until next time, still make it a #WowGodDay!


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