Growth is something that isn’t spoken about when you talk about grief, but it’s there. You have all these new emotions, all these new experiences, a new outlook on life, so how could you not grow? I know I have grown, it’s been two years since my first experience of losing a loved one and in two years we grow into a completely different version or ourselves, add grief to that and it’s almost like you grow in a whole different way. Growth shows itself in so many ways, you might be able to look at a photo without crying as much as before, you might have learnt something new that you never knew before, you could think of a memory and laugh or smile without tears in your eyes. You might be able to have those harder conversations with those you love, and I’m sure for some of you, going a whole day without feeling your grief so intense like you did the day before, is growth. We grow everyday. You might not have noticed that you’ve grown, but you have.
My grief has shaped me into who I am today. Although I never wanted to go through half the things I have, it’s helped me in so many ways. I used to feel guilty saying that, but I no longer do. Noone chooses to lose a loved one, it just happens. So it’s okay to say you’ve grown. I know my life would have been very different if I didn’t go through what I did. It’s made me proud of myself. It’s made me more emotionally aware, more adventurous, more empathic, more appreciative of those around me. Has it also had a negative impact on me? In some ways yes, but it’s all part of my growth.
I’ve achieved things I probably wouldn’t have if I didn’t experience grief, I started volunteering in healthcare which is something I never would have done before. I have learnt so many new things in the past two years since my journey with grief began, things I wouldn’t have given a second thought before my grandad, mum and uncle passed. I have learnt how to be more independent, how to take responsibility and even day to day things, like how to use the washing machine, which is so much harder than it sounds! I had to grow up quicker than most 16 year olds, however I don’t regret a single thing.
My point is that you should always look back on your grief and give yourself some credit for the things you’ve overcome and also for the things you haven’t yet overcome. As to get to where you are now, you’ve overcome so much even if it doesn’t feel like it, even if you still have a long way to go. Grief will be with you for your lifetime, so welcome it with open arms, feel it, have those days where everything is a little bit heavier, but never forget your growth. Walk with a smile, remembering those who are no longer with us and that even when they’re not here, we’re still growing because of them, as I know my loved ones have helped shape me into who I am and I am so so proud of my growth and how I’ve coped. The sleepless nights, the crying myself to sleep, days where it’s been so much harder to breathe, I’m proud of it all. You should be too. Welcome the new you, you have been bruised, you have felt emotions so deep that it shows how privileged you were to love someone so deeply. You have grown through your grief and if you haven’t noticed, others around you have.