Merriam-Webster’s definition of grief

  1. a: Deep and poignant distress caused by or as if by bereavement
    b: A cause of such suffering

As someone who has experienced a lot of death in her short 24 years of life, I often come across a specific conversation with people my age. A young adult finds out about the loss of my brother or about my blog and they immediately start apologizing. They say things like, “I have no idea what that must of been like” or “I can’t even imagine.”
It is not common for most 24 year olds to have never experienced a death, but they have all experienced grief.
So no, they can’t imagine losing their brother to cancer.
Just like I can’t imagine losing my brother to a car accident, it didn’t happen that way so I cannot relate to that type of trauma.

But we ALL can relate to grief.
“A cause of such suffering.”

Friend, I can bet you’ve suffered.
I can almost guarantee some of you who are reading this right now are suffering.
If you are suffering, you are also grieving.

Do not limit YOUR grief because mine involves death.
Grief is not defined by death.
Yes, I have grieved the dead, I still do.
But I also grieve lost opportunities, my anxiety, lost relationships, bad days, and even moving across the country.

Grief is a cause of such suffering.
If it has caused you to suffer, you are grieving it.

“Grief is not something you complete, but rather, you endure.”
Did you know that endure means suffer patiently?
Grief is when you suffer, PATIENTLY. Meaning, you don’t grieve for one day and then the time has passed and you are healed.
You grieve patiently, you grieve over time.
And often times, you are grieving MANY things patiently. Not just one loss, but multiple.

At one point in my life I was grieving the death of my brother & my cousin, the death of many who attended Route 91, my own experience at Route 91, the ending of relationships, and moving across the country. I was grieving many things, patiently.

I believe we are always in a state of grief.
We are always grieving something or someone.
And it looks different for every one; some may be depressed, while others suffer silently in their hearts.

We do not just grieve when someone dies.
In life, our grief is constant.
We are all suffering, patiently.

And that is okay, that is normal, that is allowed.
You are allowed to grieve whatever you are going through in your life.
You are also allowed to grieve in whatever way YOU see fit.
Grief is often associated with crying and long bouts of sadness.
But do you know that I grieve Cooper with a smile when I hear the song “Humble and Kind” by Tim McGraw? Do you know that I grieve my anxiety joyfully when it is not present, haunting me?

You do not have to grieve in sadness all the time.
You can grieve in joy.
You can grieve in smiles.
You can grieve in tears.
You can grieve in screams.
You can grieve in laughter.

I cannot imagine living the rest of my life associating grief with sadness. I’ve lost too many things, hurt too many times, to let myself sit in sadness 24/7 over the people and things I’ve lost.

I must choose to grieve in sadness when needed and ALSO grieve in joy.
I must acknowledge what I’ve lost and also acknowledge what I’ve gained.
I lost two humans I love beyond words, but I gained two angels who protect me every day.
I lost opportunities I thought would lead to success, but I gained a life of purpose I wouldn’t have if those opportunites had gone the way I wanted them too.

It’s all perspective.
It’s all about what lens we choose to view the world through.
It’s all about what lens we choose to view our grief through.

Don’t be afraid to suffer, patiently.
A vulnerable heart is a healing heart.


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