By Ke’Ana Lampkins
Grief is something that you don’t know anything about-until you do. It smacks you in the face and forces you to be its friend. Sometimes its friends will welcome others to the group using slang like “welcome to the dead (fill in your loss one’s title here) club”. I remember for me, those who welcomed me into this horrible club were my cousins. They had lost their mother several years before I had lost mine. They had become acquainted with the club quite well, and had learned to lean on each other. But welcomed me and my siblings with care.
For my siblings and I, we had absolutely no idea how to be there for one another. We all struggled with our own trauma, loss, guilt, sadness and grief. We each felt lost in our own way. Our mom was gone.Grief, is something you don’t know how to deal with until you have to. It’s also something that has no one right answer, or a cure that you can pick up from your local pharmacy.
It doesn’t matter what age you are, your gender, how much money you have, or how long the person has been in your life. It hurts. And that is an understatement. Eventually though, as time goes on you figure out a way to deal with the pain- or you don’t.
At some point for me I had pushed the hurt of the loss of my mother to the back of my mind. I pushed all of the pain of not having her to a storage compartment deep in the back of my brain. That meant all my good memories got placed back there too. I couldn’t think of the good memories I had of her without getting stuck in a week long depression. So I just didn’t open that part of my brain until I could handle it. It wasn’t until years later when I realized that I had even done this. I couldn’t remember memories that used to be so vivid. I couldn’t remember the way her hair smelled when I hugged her. Or even what some of my favorite meals were growing up. I had no idea how to think of something she might say to me about something we had never even talked about when she was alive.
Fortunately for me- I had a great therapist that helped me to heal from the guilt and trauma of my loss. She showed me how to incorporate my mother in my everyday life. Losing someone is, I think, the hardest thing a human being can go through mentally, emotionally, and (often times) spiritually. It’s a long road that has many twists, turns and bends. But everyone goes through it differently. You may have a strong support system, you may not. You may seek therapy, you may decide it isn’t for you. But for each of us who are in this horrible club- it is your journey. You decide how you will get through it, who you will confide in, and how you will remember the person you loved and will continue to love while you continue your journey.
Ke’Ana Lampkin is a contributing writer for the Pedestal Project, LLC.