Learning about 're-grieving' and why it's so important
Grief sucks. To put it lightly. Grief is one of those all-consuming things that I could never even express the pain of. Over the 24 years of my life I've been lucky enough not to lose too many people. However, I have struggled with the loss of both of my granddads (one of whom I saw almost every single day of my childhood), the loss of the sister I grew up with when she became ill and transformed into someone I didn't know, and the loss of a tight immediate family when my parents split up.
All of these things have caused my mind to respond with grief. Grief can manifest itself in a whole variety of different ways for different people at different times, but for me it largely manifests itself through tears. Crying is how I express my grief, and it's needed for my own catharsis.
When I was 17 and studying for my a-levels, I lost my Grandy. He was an incredibly large part of my childhood and the way we lost him meant that there was no real opportunity to say goodbye. One day he was here and healthy and the next day he wasn't. My immediate waves of grief came about because I knew that he was gone, and I could never get him back. It took me a while to emerge out of this stage, but I realised that I would never really stop missing his presence, and grief isn't something that just ends.
Re-grieving is something I've become almost used to, but I didn't know the name of it until recently. Re-grieving is effectively when you reach a new stage of your life, in which the feelings of grief come flooding back. My first one came when I realised I didn't remember his voice anymore. Then it resurfaced when I realised I'd gone a whole day without thinking about him. Then getting my first birthday card from my nan on her own. Then the first anniversary of his death. Then the realisation that he'd never meet the boy I love. Then my graduation, a day on which I know he'd have been SO beyond proud. The list goes on. Even talking about this now, and recognising that these have all been moments of re-grieving is making me teary.
Every bout of re-grief is undeniably tough, but it's going to happen and it's part of our natural development as we get older. There are so many things that happen in our youth that we can't quite process (through no fault of our own), which is often why you hear about people struggling with a trauma after years of being 'fine' since it happened. Re-grieving functions along the same lines.
I was so relieved to find out that this was a normal process, and I'm not some kind of morbid fanatic that clings to the past. It happens to us all, and it's okay to accept your feelings of grief years and years after your loss.