let’s talk about grief, baby

I’m not sure if my entire writing style is law of attraction or if I actively seek out certain things to write, read and hear about; but here we are. For a research essay at uni, I am focusing on grief in children’s/young adult literature. Discussing, reading about and researching grief will obviously bring up (either hidden or not) feelings I have dealt with in the past.

A recurring thing has become apparent to me, though.

Throughout tutorials or in discussions online, people tend to (seem to, anyway) believe that their own experiences with grief are unique. If anything, it’s just widened my own perspective. I like to think of myself as someone whose always been quite open-minded, and particularly with grief; I understand that everyone has experienced it in some way, especially at this age. Whether it be a close family member or friend who has passed away, or whether you grieve the loss of love, friendship or a pet (because trust the fuck out of me, losing a pet can literally break your heart).

But there have been a few that have put their hands up and said (I won’t actually state what they’ve said, because confidentiality and also wouldn’t want this to come back and bite my ass), but basically “This happened to me and so I understand grief better than you and that is why I think this about this book.”

Blatantly disregarding the fact that, hey, maybe the person next to you understands grief, too! What a concept.

I sat quietly. I watched. I smiled politely. And I secretly got annoyed at them.

Your situation may be unique. Hell, how you’ve experienced it sure as shit is unique. I won’t even begin to compare the way I’ve dealt with my own grief to that of my siblings – because we went through the same thing, but we’re different people.

But the fact that we have experienced grief; that in itself, is shockingly (not shockingly at all), not unique.

This is just a note. To stop thinking that your situation is so special; to stop thinking that you know so much more about a certain thing because you’ve experienced another certain thing; to stop thinking that you are above all because you have climbed your own mountain.

Instead, think like this. You’re standing atop your mountain. You have another shittonne to climb in your lifetime, but for the moment, they’re out of sight. You look to your left, and your right, in front of you, behind you. And you see all the familiar faces, your friends, your siblings, the person sitting at the table next to you at the cafe, the barista who made your coffee this morning. They’re all at your eye level because they’re all standing atop their own mountains. Because they’ve climbed through their own shit, too.

And instead of thinking that you are ahead of them all, that you know more, that grief is something only you know — hold out your hand. Grab onto theirs, and start a chain reaction. And all of a sudden, we have people standing atop their own mountains, but they are all connected by linking arms. Each and every one is supporting each other through their version of grief.

We’re no longer special, or different, or worthy of special treatment.
But we’re together.
And frankly, that is what gets us through.

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