Grief is a very real human experience, and something every individual will go through in their lifetime.
Loss is a part of living.
I cannot stand for a world where there isn't room for this emotion.
We need to start making room for grief in not only our personal lives, but in society in general -- because as it stands now, there is very little space for it or understanding of it.
When my brother died two years ago I had no idea how to process grief, how to deal with it, or where to put it.
It was overwhelming, frightening, and so fucking painful.
It continues to be overwhelming, frightening, and so fucking painful.
While I didn't know how to deal with it, I made the commitment to myself that I would not repress my grief, I wouldn't hide from my grief, and I wouldn't box it up with a pretty little bow just so that I was more digestible for other people.
I do my best to look my grief straight in the eyes, because I wake up with it in the morning and go to sleep with it at night, each and every day.
I'm not always perfect -- sometimes I hide it, repress it, or numb out, because the intensity of the emotion is so immense, it often overtakes me completely.
But I continue to show up to it. Because I owe it to myself, I owe it to the people in my life, and I owe it to the world, to experience the full spectrum of my humanness -- and my grief is a part of that full spectrum.
There needs to be more education, conversations, and honest addressing of grief for children and adults.
As a culture, we need to start taking a real look at the role grief plays in our lives so that we have a better idea of how to navigate it when we personally experience it, as well as how to best support those in our lives that might be grieving.
So, I ask of you -- please, allow yourself to feel your grief.
I know it's scary, but it's so goddamn important to open yourself to feeling. It's not necessarily going to be easy and will definitely overwhelm you sometimes.
The fact is that being real with your grief will support you in your emotional health and well-being.
Hiding from grief keeps you suffocated in repression and ultimately further away from whatever it was that you loved and lost.
If you're not grieving a loss but know someone who is, offer yourself as a listening ear, a warm hug, a gentle presence when they're in need and even when they might not say they're in need... because the reality is that they probably still are.
Random acts of kindness for a grieving loved one go a long way. Focus less on trying and more on being, with them.
As someone very dear in my life says, "grief is aching love" -- so allow yourself to ache in the love you feel.
In the end, the bigger the grief, the bigger the love.
Keep loving really, really big.