“Grief does not change you Hazel. It reveals you.” John Green
As the anniversary of her passing approaches, time has ripped the top off of a healing wound to expose once more, a raw and gapping hole. My eyes fill with tears but this time I let them fall, having learnt that it is better to let them out than to leave them festering inside.
The tears flow as the memories start to replay. Days of darkness flash through my mind as I remember the pain, the anguish and the despair. My body recoils as the emotions overflow. For a short moment I allow Grief to take over, only for a brief moment.
In those early and bleak days, Grief was my biggest enemy. It seeped into my every fibre, taking grip of everything I had and knew. I was sent spiralling down a dark journey, until I stood, entrapped in my own prison. A dungeon filled with a 360° view of mirrors with nothing to see but myself. Being confronted by yourself at such a close proximity, you cannot run away. Closing your eyes only works for such a small period of time and when your eyes do open, you are confronted with the best and worst parts of yourself.
Day by day, battle-by-battle, I clawed my way out of it and my outlook slowly returned back to the normal world. My perspective was however, forever altered by the experience. Now I know that Grief was not my biggest enemy, I was. Grief was not pushing the self destruct button, it was me.
It turns out, Grief was my biggest teacher, teaching me things about myself and life that I never knew.
It taught me life can suck sometimes. Death sucks. Losing someone sucks. It’s horrible, devastating and it hurts. The pain is real, intense and consuming. The loss is real and it cannot be captured in words. It was the most painful thing I have ever experienced.
Grief helped me find an inner strength I never knew existed. A strength that motivates me to start chasing dreams today rather than tomorrow because tomorrow is not guaranteed.
It gave me an appreciation of today and all that it holds for me. If tomorrow does come, I cannot change what comes with it. Only my reaction to it.
And as I learn to smile and laugh again, I realise life does not always suck. It is also filled with loving friends, family and some amazing places.
But the most important I learnt was Grief does not have to break me, it can help define me.