31 Aug Grief awareness day
Yesterday was National Grief Awareness Day.
I opened up my Instagram this morning, the day after, saw a post from my friend Jana Buhlmann, and that is how I learned such a day existed. Jana, known as @baldgrrl had a beautiful picture and caption on her page. She wrote an amazing post in which she bears her soul to the world here: A Private Grief.
Grief is the pain that accompanies the loss of something or someone, to which a bond or deep connection was formed. Grief is a reflection of what we love. What we once may had and is now gone.
Grief is not limited to merely an emotional response, but grief encompasses the physical, cognitive, spiritual, behavioral, social, cultural, and philosophical dimensions.
Like many others, I too, was struck with grief in the loss of Chadwick Boseman to cancer.
It triggers my own grief in facing the the loss of my own father to cancer in 2013.
Emotions that I keep locked away. Tucked in the depth of my soul. Inside boxes. Boxes that are sealed tightly. Wrapped in chains and locked up. The keys to those locks hidden in the darkest corners that I do not allow anyone to visit. Places that I myself will only travel too when I am all alone, in the midst of quiet and blanketed by stillness, when I know I am prepared to look pain in the eyes.
As I type this I can feel the emotions of my own grief welling up in my eyes.
I have to pause to keep the keys hidden. To ensure the locks remained locked. Not to open those boxes filled with my emotions.. I cannot let the grief out.
Chadwick kept his diagnosis, his journey, and his decisions private.
My father made the same choice.
As we pass the car at a stoplight, as we walk next to the family at the park, as our doorbell rings and the delivery person leaves a package, as we meet with colleagues on zoom, as we sit across from a patient (or a physician) in the exam room, we have no idea of the private grief that others may be carrying.
We must remember, that despite appearances, we have no idea the grief someone else may be experiencing. Grief is deeply private. It is deeply personal. It is deeply individual.
How we deal, express, and cope with grief is a choice we make at the N of 1.