Grief Series; Cyclical waves

Carly has been a best friend of mine for over a decade. I met her when I was 20, and instantly felt pulled to her. Her energy, her excitement, her passion for the things she loves is overwhelming and addicting.

Carly has had several losses in her life, but you’d never be able to tell by just meeting her or interacting with her. There are a few beautiful, important aspects of grief that I want to discuss with Carly’s body of work specifically.

The first big important part of grief is that it never really goes away. Carly lost her best friend from high school, and although some time has passed the pain hasn’t. Some days the sadness takes over and the passing feels like yesterday, while other days it doesn’t hurt the same. We think that ‘going through the grieving process’ rids us from these feelings of consumption of being overwhelmed with grief, but it’s just not true.

The second part I want to address is no matter the time spent with those we love, it just never is enough. Carly also lost her grandmother who she was close to [I was in her life at this time, and remember how hard it was watching her go through this], and although she got more time with her Grandmother than her best friend, it still feels like there could have been more moments, more memories created, more time spent with that person. Old or young – these losses hurt equally.

The big part to this series: grief is not linear, and sometimes the mundane activities that we do, are enough to help us get by. We can present to be happy because we are, but that also doesn’t mean that we aren’t drowning in grief. We can love playing video games, doing yoga, crafting decor for halloween outfits, reading books, lighting candles as a way to enjoy our lives without having big moments or things that keep us going. When I was discussing this project with Carly she had mentioned that she doesn’t really have anything BIG that makes her happy – and that she felt kind of boring, but the truth is, the mundane stuff in our lives ARE beautiful and if they ARE ENOUGH to keep us going – that’s simply incredible, and those things deserve to be highlighted.

Carly recently lost her cat, Max. Something I will not ever back down on is the harsh feelings of losing a pet. Pets are sometimes disregarded when it comes to loss – but when I say that losing an animal is harder than losing some human relationships – I one-hundred percent mean that. These beings live with us every day – they give us distractions, unconditional love, snuggles, make us laugh when we don’t want to think about smiling, and are just major assets to many of our lives. Those of us who are not interested in children get that same love from our animals that we care for. So this loss is very hard on many of us – including Carly.

If you have had a recent loss or a loss that happened 20 years ago, know that it’s okay to still have moments of overwhelming sadness. Understand that those losses can still feel fresh at times, and if there are people around you invalidating you because of time, find better people to surround yourself with. If you have had a pet loss and took it pretty hard, allow yourself to do what you need to cope with it – and do not discredit yourself for allowing it to kick your ass. Find the things that help you cope, large or small, embrace them, acknowledge the pain you feel, talk to others [if it helps you] about these people, animals, moments of loss, and know that grief is not as simple as we try to believe it is.

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