Editorial: There is no wrong way to grieve

Editorial Board

Grief can be a heavy, jarring or even strange thing. Losing someone in your life, regardless of whatever presence they may have had, is difficult. 

When you lose someone close to you, it’s very different compared to losing someone who may not have had as big of a presence in your life, or even someone you didn’t like. Sometimes, you may not feel like you have the right to grieve for them. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. There aren’t specific criteria that you need to meet in order to feel the loss of a person. 

Although, it can occasionally feel as if you aren’t valid in your grief. Witnessing those who were closer to the person or family can make it seem like your sadness isn’t justifiable. After all, you didn’t know them well, right? However, a loss is a loss, no matter who the person was to you. The absence of their presence is enough to be devastating in and of itself. So if you feel sorrow, just know that you aren’t alone—likely other people are experiencing what you are experiencing. 

Furthermore, talking to the people around you experiencing the same loss can be beneficial. Reminiscing about the person, articulating what you feel or even just crying to or with someone can be therapeutic. Just knowing that someone is going through the same thing as you is also comforting.

Although beyond just feeling the loss in your own life, you also feel the sadness of those around you. While it can be comforting to be around other people, it can also be suffocating to attend a memorial or funeral when grief is palpable in the air. So if you feel that it’s too painful to be around the pain, that’s okay too. Maybe being around others experiencing the same loss is too difficult. Whether you find comfort in being by yourself or surrounded by others, it is perfectly okay.

But other times, even if you have accepted the fact that your grief is completely sound and you know who you find comfort in, how do you process your grief? How long are you supposed to grieve? As cliche as it sounds, there is no right answer. Grief is very individualistic, so it will not look the same for everyone. For some, it means getting some fresh air and just taking a walk. For others, it can be going out with friends to something you would normally enjoy. But it’s also okay to ask for help—whether that be from friends, family or even seeking out a therapist. It’s easy to feel like you aren’t grieving correctly, as if you need to be holed up in your room, crying all the time. While that also isn’t a bad way to grieve, it’s important to do what is best for you.

Trying to proceed in your life without the person you lost can feel unsettling. Constantly thinking about how you are still alive while they are not can be depressing. There isn’t anything you can do to bring them back, but just thinking or talking about them keeps their memory alive. However, no matter how much time has passed, your grief is still valid. It’s easy to feel as if it’s been too long to still feel the pain of someone’s loss, but by remembering them, you honor the life they lived and the impact they had on you and those around you.