Grief Is A Strange Thing

This is a tricky thing. We all know that at some point we are going to lose someone we love – a friend, a romantic partner, a relative. But when it happens, it hurts and sometimes it’s difficult to process the emotions we’re feeling. We need to cry or vent to other people that knew the person we lost better or worse than we did. It doesn’t matter – what matters is that you care. That you let yourself grieve in the way it suits you.

We know it will happen, but when it does, it can still feel like a shock. You hear the news and go through that day as you normally would but inside, your head is spinning and all you can think of is that person and their poor family.

I went to university and studied Creative Writing. I graduated three years ago, but I’m still in contact with almost all the people on my course. We shared so many amazing memories together, spending classes and lunches and evening dinners together, celebrating the good times and being there for each other through the bad. We are still young. We all want to go on our own paths, while helping each other along the way. Recently, I found out that one of the girls in that close-knit group passed away due to an illness. She wasn’t quite thirty. She had a young daughter. She had her whole future ahead of her. Now it feels like a chunk of our unit is missing. It wasn’t anyone’s fault – it was a heart-breaking tragedy. A few people in the group didn’t even know she was ill. I did – I told her partner, she will recover. Her body just needs time to get through this illness and then she can come home. Her daughter can have her mother back.

I now find myself thinking, I wish I’d been closer to her. She and her partner were still some of my best friends, but I wished I’d spent more time with her. Personal time. Even during that time, I wished I could have been there more. But I know this is a natural thing to feel, so I’m trying to just focus on the good things.  

Grief isn’t something that’s easy to understand. At the beginning of last year, I lost my grandad. The only other time I’ve lost someone was my nan, when I was six years old. My grandad was ninety-seven years old. He’d lived a long life, had a family, some tragedy but mostly good memories.

Losing my friend feels different. She was supposed to have so much time left to live, so many things to accomplish. She wrote novels and wanted to be an author one day, like all of us on our course. She should have had the chance.

I suppose my point is that everyone goes through this differently. If it feels right for you to go home and cry, do that. If you feel like you need to be out, spending time with your friends and family, sharing memories, do that as well. Read, write, watch films or Netflix. Allow yourself to grieve. Don’t blame yourself. Talk to other people that loved that person, share memories. I spent all night messaging friends, some who I hadn’t spoken to for a while. Sharing photographs, happy memories.

It’s strange for every person, and it’s strange for each person you lose.

It changes people. It makes you realise how precious life is and how quickly it can change. So be there for those you love, hug them a little tighter. And most importantly, don’t suffer in silence. Seek help. Don’t do it all alone – there are people out there who want to help you. Friends, family, counselling services.

We have a counselling service here at Sapphire.

Reach out.

By April Grace O’Sullivan

Literature Manager

Sapphire Community Group