"When will I be done with this grief?" - by Alice McGinley
When speaking to people about their loss to suicide they often ask how long it will take for the pain to stop. I explain that we all grieve in our own space and time but for most people the pain remains, it becomes part of our journey for as long as we live. I can assure people that while the pain of the loss may remain, it does, with time, become easier to carry. We have lost an important part of our lives and the healing process takes time. During the initial grieving our pain may be acute and consume a large part of our waking hours, and for many, their sleeping hours and dreams as well. This grief is exhausting and we need to take care of ourselves and sometimes others when we barely have the energy to get out of bed.
As time passes, we learn to manage our grief and start to resume our daily routine. But the pain is still there, just below the surface. It can be triggered by any number of things: a picture, a song, driving by a restaurant you went to together, a familiar voice that makes your head turn in search of the person you have lost. These episodes may be hard to work through and it may seem like you are right back at the beginning with the rawness of the early pain. With time these episodes become fewer and farther apart and they become the exception in your days. As we move forward these triggers are not as painful and the sadness doesn’t last as long. When the intensity of our pain softens, we are able to recall joyful memories and fun times with our deceased loved ones. It is then the warmth of the relationship we shared with them can settle once again in our hearts.
I tell people that I would not have traded one day with my loved one, even if I knew ahead of time how it would end. We were blessed to have been in each other’s lives and I am a better person for having known and loved him.