Death comes in so many shapes and sizes. Sometimes it’s quick and extraordinarily tragic circumstances. Sometimes it’s slow, painful, and drawn out. In all the different ways death affects our lives, grief is the same. Grief is an angry beast unlike any other, and let me assure you, there is no wrong way to grieve. There is no wrong emotion to feel. In fact, you will most likely feel everything and nothing at the same time.

You will feel angry, like the universe stole something so precious from you while simultaneously ripping out a piece of your heart, leaving a gaping void that not even Duct Tape can fix. You will feel the most intense sadness rush in, attacking every happy thought, crushing them with Hulk hand fury. This sadness may last minutes, hours, days, or weeks. But hold on, because just as quickly as it began, it will end. Breathe.

You will feel nothing. Numb. Lifeless. The simple acts of feeding and dressing yourself should be commended. You will find that it takes superhuman strength to get out of bed and face the day.

Some days you will feel happiness. You will remember the good times and wonderful memories you made. You will laugh at their quirks you miss most, like the annoying way they would slurp the last bits of melted ice from their favorite Sonic slushy, or how they insisted on singing along to every song in their favorite songs. You would trade anything to hear that slightly off-key harmony just one more time.

More often than you might think, you will forget they are not here anymore. You will go about living your normal everyday life, need to ask them a question and as you pick up the phone to call . . . BAM! Reality punches you square in the face with epic force. The pain with rush in again, crippling you for a moment until your brain can negotiate with your heart and allow you back into the present. This will leave you with crippling anxiety and depression which there will be no cure.

The emotions and feelings you will experience are innumerable, but rest assured, you will get through each one and each one will make you stronger. You will reconcile your overwhelming pain and have more moments of peace. You will overcome your bitter sadness and experience joy. But you must never forget these feelings. Truly embracing your emotions is a powerful tool that takes courage and time. Use them to allow yourself to keep living. And most importantly, never forget that the beast of grief has many faces. There is no wrong way to grieve, so never apologize for what you feel in the moment. One day, you may even be able to help someone else with your voice.

Jessica Grillo

After suffering the loss of my sister and mother in March, I started writing about my personal journey through this lonely and brutal process . I found my voice, I found my truth , but most importantly I found healing in the words that were flowing from my soul.