Black Girl, Red State*: Grief

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* Disclaimer: Black Girl, Red State is a column. It deals with Race and Social Issues, and is devoted to Understanding. It shares inner feelings of a Black student in a predominately White state. It is an opinion piece. The title and material are personal to the writer but provide a narrative that she believes is needed for readers to understand the message and feelings that she is trying to get across.

Grief consumes you.

It leaves you buried in your mind. Every nook and cranny seems to be filled with sadness, guilt, regret, anger, and betrayal. Mostly, your feelings are confusing because you honestly don’t know how to feel.

On one hand you have people telling you that it will get better, it will be okay, and the infamous “Don’t cry they’re in a better place,” but in all honesty I wish someone prepared me for grief. Not in a fantasy way that makes it seem like with each day it will be better, but a way for me to understand that grief can be detrimental.

It can be detrimental to your identity, your values, your faith, and your responsibilities.

I’ve never truly experienced the loss of a loved one where I was old enough to remember things vividly and clearly. Until this year. In losing one person, I felt like a domino effect was set off; shortly after I lost another and grief somehow made a permanent bed within my life.

I wish someone would’ve told me that the stages of grief will make you feel like you are going crazy, but you are not going crazy! You are just grieving.

I had to find out on my own that grief has a strange way of holding onto you. You lose the ambition to do simple things that you once enjoyed. You don’t want to go outside and hang out. You don’t want to laugh too much, somehow you feel guilty. You feel guilty that you’re here laughing and the one you want to be within arms reach of or a phone call away isn’t. There is no such thing as closure, you never truly move on. You just learn how to live without the one you love, some days will be harder than others. You’ll hear a song, you’ll sniff a familiar scent, remember a funny memory and the absence in your heart begins to sink you like there is an anchor attached.

To prevent others from worrying about you, you show this facade that you are fine. Within yourself, you have to find a common ground to keep going and the hardest part for me is that while you are grieving time is still progressing.

Life is still moving forward.

Obligations still have to be met.

Time is still advancing.

Responsibilities start to pile.

Assignments start to pile.

Work objectives start to pile.

Until your head is below the water and you’re trying to figure out how did you even get there.

In college, it is hard to grieve and be focused while questioning everything around you. While trying to hold onto your small bits of sanity and maintain a social life, an academic life, a work life, there are so many different objectives to maintain when it feels as though your mind goes into autopilot mode.

You’re drifting through the day and somehow you’re getting through it but you do not feel in body, mind, and soul you are there.

I share my experience to say that, Grief comes in waves . . .

It can come all in one swift motion and crash you down.

Life is 90% of what happens and 10% of how react to it. Grief has the same method and formula. Grief can either sink you or push you to wake up and move forward. Everyone grieves differently, no one person grieves the same. To understand that is key but in sharing my experience I hope that if you are going through turmoil that you will be the person you need. Be strong for you and be happy for you.

It is okay to cry, to feel broken, and in my opinion it’s okay to shut it all out for the time being, but remember that while you are shutting it out the motion of life is still happening.

Pick yourself up if needed, because you are the only person who can make yourself feel better.

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