It’s like being thrown into a stormy sea. The waves lift you and throw you until it’s impossible to catch your breath. The sky is dark. You look around and see no land in sight. You wonder when the waves will subside but there is no end in sight. You are physically and mentally exhausted.

But one day, the waves will, for the briefest of moments, subside . . . allowing you to catch your breath. For a moment, you think of something else. It may only be for a moment, but you cherish the relief. And then, the waves comes rushing back to bring you deep into the sea. But little by little, the time spent in the waves subsides and you are left with calm seas. You find yourself thinking about the future and you feel this glimmer of hope.

But out of the clear blue sky come the dark clouds. The waves come rushing back, forcing you underwater struggling to breathe. Something so simple like a song or a photo or birthday brings you back.

This isn’t the linear grief of moving on. It’s isn’t about stages. It’s about feeling the grief.

It’s about knowing the waves will subside eventually. It’s knowing life does go on. You can laugh and smile and it’s OK.

But the main thing to realize is that pain is part of it. So is peace and calm and joy and pleasure.

Those you lost would not wish a world drained of color for you. They would wish only for the sunshine to shine on you everyday. They did not leave you for your world to go dark.

When you go through grief, you must leave space for fury and regret, for humor and happiness, for silence and relief, for thankfulness and celebrating. But don’t force any of these things. You will feel them when the time is right.

Simply be patient, be kind, be present—for this is the only way to get through the storm.

You may also like:

Please Don’t be Afraid of My Grief

It’s OK to Just Listen

Learning to Live With the Scars of Grief

Dear Grief, There Are Some Things I Refuse to Let You Take From Me

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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.