There is no doubt that loss changes us. That fact is indisputable. The loss and resulting grief is and always will be there. And that is the same for every person in this world. No matter who you are, where you live, or what you believe, you will lose someone at some point in your life that is important to you. This is something we all share as humans.
What is different is the WAY in which it impacts us. The side effects of that loss so to speak.
Grief is such a profoundly personal experience that I truly don’t feel there is anyone that can truly understand anyone else’s loss. I can only speak to my experience and how my losses have impacted me.
I have had some significant losses in my life and to tally them up, well it is just too much to think about. Some of these losses had minor impacts and those were impacts that were fleeting.
Others, especially the loss of my daughter, shaped how I view the world. It brought to the surface beliefs that were long buried (the side effect of losing my dad).
It has given me severe anxiety at the mere thought of something happening to my surviving daughter, grandchildren and spouse. Thankfully, I have my tools to help me with this.
These are what I refer to as side effects of grief and loss. Some good, some amazing, some awful.
I had noticed another personal side effect and really started to be more aware of it recently.
I feel other people’s pain and suffering for loss stronger than I ever did. I mean, I feel it physically and emotionally. I feel like I am looking straight into people’s heart and soul. I unintentionally take it as my own.
This happens with people I know and complete strangers.
I see mothers crying for lost children on the news and I cry for them, feeling a fraction of their pain.
I hear a child crying at the loss of a parent and want to hold them.
I see something online about mass deaths and I worry for their friends and family.
A friend loses a parent. I see their pain and I know I can’t make them better.
Someone loses a pet and I know they are hurting just as much as if it were a human child.
These are all situations that are personal to them, and their grief will be different from one person to the next, but the pain is not really different. I am not saying that I know how they feel, I just know that I can see it and I know the sheer depth of it.
So, my side effect of grief is empathy and compassion to the extreme. And I am good with it. It’s turning me into the kind of person I always wanted to be and really was on the inside. It’s made me more inclined to give people grace, It has made me far less judgemental and made me take a few steps back to try to understand where others are coming from. And to me, this is a blessing in spite of tragedy.
What is your grief side effect?
Until next time,