If you have experienced grief on a personal level, you’ve probably heard the statement “you will get over it”. This statement seems to be the ambassador of grief blanket statements that people always say.
I remember, it was only days into the death of my husband when I was also told, “you will get over it” , in that instant, my mind wondered how I would “get over it?”? What does getting over this mean? When will l get over it? How long will it take me to get over it?
What does getting over it mean?
As you can see, what followed this statement for me brought nothing but more anxiety and pressure about what grief means.
The loss of my husband was my first experience with grief. Sure, l had lost family members, but it wasn’t the same. For some of those losses, l was a bystander. Yes, l was heartbroken, but I didn’t have to live with the day-to-day struggles of not having that loved one in my life.
So here l was, being told within days after my husband’s death that l would get over losing the person I thought l would spend the rest of my life with. That I would get over the person l spoke with every day and had planned a future with. So how do you get over that?
The statement (which l don’t like) not only put pressure on me to ask more questions but, worse, it made me think about what “getting over” loss means over and over again while l was trying to process everything that was happening to me.
How can you get over loss if it is impossible to get over being dumped? To me, a cold or hangover are things you can get over. But loss, man, is something that sometimes cannot be overcome.
Instead, l believe you learn to live with your loss. Like your shadow, it’s there with you. At times you can have a good week, month or year. But, then, sometimes you burst into tears as if the news just hit you.
In all honesty, it is fine because grief has no expiry date, and allowing yourself to realise this is important. Because ultimately, you have to give yourself grace.
How do you learn to live with your loss?
While you go through the healing journey of your loss, you start to wonder what life means. Some people can redefine their lives by doing something to honour their loved ones, and they find a way forward.
Because learning to live with your loss can help you move forward (not to be mistaken with moving on), You are moving forward. You accept what has been and move ahead to the next phase. This allows you to be at peace without hiding what you have gone through and make enough room for your past and present to create a future.
For me, living with loss has been painful but it has also taught me that life is a gift. My husband always loved to say he was living his best life. One of the questions l asked myself when l was deep in grief was “am l living my best life?”. I realised that I wasn’t.
One thing that has been a driving force in living with my loss is “being intentional” 8 months into my loss l was bitter, jealous, envious and had a black heart. I had reached my limit and all l could do was whisper “God, l want to get better” God answered back and taught me that getting better is about being intentional every single day.
Some days are still tough, infact last night was an emotional one and l spent some of it crying, because I suddenly thought of everything l lost when my husband passed. And l cried, after crying I wiped my tears and picked up a book.
When l have a rough moment, day or week I embrace it, when l laugh, l do it with all my heart and now when l love my family and friends l love them with all l have. I give myself grace by acknowledging that l am not perfect, what happened to me happened and it hurt, but I have to move forward and embrace what’s ahead.