In the times of Death, Loss and Grief
Death: it’s a reminder of mortality that doesn’t come announced. Like an evanescent breath of fresh air, that slaps across your face. It wakes you up from the slumber of mirage, desires, and lust.
Freedom, who doesn’t wish to experience it? Even the ones who are tied by responsibilities, and driven by aspirations. A wish for hedonistic pursuits keeps up their tiny threads of hope.
If there could be a Boundless world:
Where verbally no one would abuse us. Where we wouldn’t hold on to the hurt that pierced through our hearts eons ago.
Where mentally we wouldn’t be under the clutches of an unfading traumatic event. Where we wouldn’t become a flustered puppet to our emotions. Where fear wouldn’t control us…
Where physical restrictions of being confined to every societal limitation wouldn’t be conditioned onto our entire existence.
Is it death that sets you free from it all?
I often wondered, what exists beyond this? Beyond my physical existence and all the ways, I experience life. I looked for answers in scriptures and books. I asked wise people, they told me nothing anew.
As euphoric as this idea of liberation sounds... It doesn’t look anything like that for the ones who would have experienced soul-numbing grief.
If a child watches death, and other rites and rituals happen at their home during a sensitive age. It remains etched onto their mind, like an invisible scar. The remnants of it follow them, all through their life. They become souvenirs, the living unsung warriors who fight a battle each day. Their heart bleeds, feels heavy, and aches from every corner of it.
Or an Adult who is trudging through life that seems purposeless and shattered by loss. When their heart is sinking and they’re bombarded with messages that ask them to be strong. One can empathize, but sometimes words aren’t needed. They feel like unwarranted and intrusive advice. At the time one laments, those messages seem the last thing to worry about.
A Disturbing sense of Loss:
“I’m sorry for your loss,” such sentences indicate disappointment from the world. It leaves the griever feeling alone, washed in the waves of survivor’s guilt. The stigma of opening up makes us more cocooned into our turmoil. With people behaving abnormally and awkwardly, our grief seems like an armour to hide beneath.
In our grief illiterate society, loss sounds uncomfortable. We are not taught how to cope with loss or be there for someone who is going through it. The conversations surrounding sorrow aren’t apprehended without faulty judgments or opinions, it makes the griever feel unseen and silenced. Bereaved people need to feel heard and validated. Some genuine support in the form of comforting words and benevolent listening is all that we look for – but we are granted platitudes that make us feel worse than before.
It seems that anguish and tribulations are unknown to most, or the fact that maybe most wouldn’t address it. The idea of mourning brings an odd sense of discomfort to most people who lead apparently normal lives. A visual of someone mourning, the sadness that stares back in their eye mostly leads to many people being dismissive and invalidate them. Leading to say statements like, “They wouldn’t want you to be sad,” or “Time heals everything!”
The problematic approach of society:
There’s shame and tingling guilt which follows a conversation over grief. Most people that surround us don’t want to be told the blatant truth of life. A griever often feels belittled when their pain is compared and weighed to someone else. It’s done in an attempt to keep the conversation going or shift the attention, making it about another person. It’s a human tendency to show their suffering as bigger whilst listening to someone else’s. Sentences that may sound like, “You know I lost my grandfather too” or “I have dealt with a Break-up too”. Each of them is wrong: one could even be grieving the loss of a pet, yet doesn’t wish for their grief to be placed on a weighing scale.
While it may seem innocuous at first, it leaves the griever feeling dismissed and unsettled. It’s an unrelenting suffering and doesn’t need a societal comparison.
Inadequate Coping Mechanism :
Many a time, there is a lack of a support system. The people griever counts on – disappear from their life – To them, It’s a rude awakening and proof of the very fragile existence of humanity. The inability to handle triggers of mortality or the unresponsiveness from the Griever’s end makes them withdraw. Hence, they leave the griever to their own, forlorn, emotionally impaired and hollow.
Grief is difficult. Coping with loss is the toughest. To talk about either is taboo. People in our lives wish to see us the same, happy and whole as before. Which can never happen post-loss, as it alters your entire existence.
Through this darkness, support groups and the therapy community come across as tiny rays of hope in the form of empathy, acknowledgment and patience – which are some desperate needs for us. We find a safe space with people, whose lives have already been wrecked havoc by this disaster
But the question is why should only those who’ve been on the same page understand this? Why can’t our society, and people in general at least make an attempt to do so.
Unsolicited Social Remedies
Society and people around us want us to make sense of loss. With subtle indications and timely reminders of responsibilities. Although, their intention is kind. There's a general ignorance around how it's impossible to rekindle purpose and faith after such devastating grief. Grievers report to be ‘forced’ to work/ interact and live-in social circles like nothing ever happened! Which is a fake positivity notion deeply ingrained into our minds by the society.
How can you help:
If you genuinely wish to help someone grieving a loss. Ask them what you can do to make them feel better? Apologize for not being there before. For using insensitive statements or stereotyping grief. Or better… just listen.
We're all made of stardust. But not everyone can withstand such weathering emotions, alone and all by themselves. Human Empathy is being forgotten from the world. It’s high time we save it.
Death, Grief and dealing with Loss have no snooze button. It comes one moment and the next visible sight is a catastrophe, a zone of ruins. Something a living human cannot ever escape or become immune to.
There’s no guarantee that you’ll wake-up tomorrow. So, while you are here, make your life worthwhile, because in the end… people will only remember you for how you made them feel.