When my mother died, I knew nothing about grief. Truthfully, I knew nothing about life either. Like most, I entered grief with only a handful of assumptions and a few preconceived notions. Despite being a bit of a navel gazer, I was unwilling to slow down and evaluate what I was experiencing; I had no idea what to expect and a flair for negative coping.
A lot has changed in the years since my mother died. Somewhat by chance, I found myself working in the field of death, dying and bereavement; even more random is the fact that Litsa and I started this website and have yet to burn it down. I now know way more about grief than any reasonable person should.
In retrospect, I sometimes wonder what I would tell my 24-year-old self if I had the chance. Would I have listened? Actually, I’m pretty sure my future-self is about the only person I’d have listened to because…you know…time travel is mind blowing. So far as I know though, speaking to my younger self is out of the realm of possibility, so instead I’ve written her a letter that I obviously will never send.
For those of you a bit further out in your grief, this is a good journaling exercise. What would you tell your younger self about grief? What do you wish you had known? Reflecting on these questions allows you to identify the ways in which you’ve grown and the lessons you’ve learned, and provides perspective on how far you’ve come.
Your (our) mother just died. It sucks…I’m sorry. Everything is going to change from here on out. Be patient, it will be a while before you feel normal again. I am 10 years older than you and much wiser (yes, you do get better with age), so I’m writing this letter to tell you a few things that I’ve learned about our grief.
Before you get excited, I should tell you that you don’t grow up to become a comic strip artist. The reason I drew the rest of this letter is because you’re grieving and your brain is a total mess; I just thought pictures would be easy to understand. Here goes…
What would you tell your younger self about grief? Share in the comments below or on Facebook; you never know, it might help someone else. Also, don’t forget to subscribe.