How should I grieve?
I often wonder how well we take care of our hearts. Grief could come in the form of a tragedy happening, a heart breaking, someone dying, or a friend becoming unreliable. It could be other things, as well. Why it is considered grief is because it causes a void in our hearts. There is a loss that can or cannot be replaced. Grief is painful, shocking, bittersweet, heavy, and unexpected. But what nobody ever tells anyone is that grief is completely normal. Just like Birthdays and falling in love are a part of life, so is grieving loss. It balances life out.
What is not normal is that we are not taught what to do when loss comes our way. From movies and observing others, we know that mourning comes in the form of crying, falling apart, screaming, and remaining in denial. While that behavior is actually very normal, it does nothing to help a person come to terms with the loss. It is only normal to a certain point. It does not offer any healing if it persists. I remember recognizing the lack of understanding of grief when I lost my dad. I was getting calls and visits from family, friends, and acquaintances. Some would say it’s bad to cry, others would say you have to be strong from the start, there were those who compared another person’s loss to mine and told me I should be grateful, and of course there were those who offered limited sympathy because that was all they were taught to do. I could not blame anyone, this was simply what they knew and what they applied.
From friendships that were just not meant to be, to losing my cousin and father weeks apart, I learned something about loss that I found to be quite valuable. Anything that causes a void in our hearts is significant. Whether it is a dead goldfish, a bad friend, or a parent passing away, it matters because it hurts and because it has the capacity to change the emotional anatomy of our hearts. When asked by others, “how should I grieve?” I realized that after a lot of reflecting my answer was simple. “Grieve with patience.” Let your heart feel, because although it hurts to feel something so heavy, it is oddly beautiful to experience such intense emotions. These emotions are powerful teachers that are meant to shape us into better people. They are tests, but they are also blessings in that they allow us to become closer to our loved ones and our Creator. They teach us patience, because without patience, insanity is in very close proximity. Grieve with patience. Crying is great, but it is also so important to understand the purpose of the tears that are being shed. This is simply because tears are valuable.
From the Prophet (Pbuh), I have learned that “The real patience is at the first stroke of a calamity.” This could not be more true. While our adversities can break us apart, that is not what they were put in our lives to do. They were taught to teach us patience. They were also placed to teach us how to be patient with ourselves. Through them, we acquire the grace of beautiful patience.