stone left as a memorial for those who have loved and lost a momento of grief left in vigil Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Grief is Courting Me (Alexandra Galviz)

Feb 08, 2023

(This guest blog is by Alexandra Galviz a member of our end of life doula community)

Grief is Courting Me

I’m not sure what it is about planes, but it’s not unusual to find myself with silent tears streaming down my face. Maybe it’s the fact that that there is a physical movement from one place to another that makes me feel like I’m literally leaving something behind, or maybe it’s to do with the time I get to sit in silence, no distractions with things that have been simmering to surface in all the saltiness, or maybe I make bad choices in soppy in-flight movies. I’ve found myself feeling a lot of Grief recently. Not the immediate kind, if there is such a thing, a sort of gentle germination kind. The one that creeps up in unexpected moments, weeks, months, and years later. With the painful invitation to remember, remember the beauty of memory and the pain of the loss. I’ve wondered these past few weeks if this is a delayed Grief, the kind I found myself touching the surface of in Berlin but being back at home has increased the proximity of my Grief. I felt the need to write about it and, in a way, honour my Grief.

Grieving lost love

About two weeks ago, I let go of a relationship of some sort, a man, a person that has come in and out of my life for the past four years. At first, the decision was an easy one until I sat on a plane and watched a movie that they’d recommended to me a while back, Collateral Beauty. It was about Grief and about Time and Love. All the things I was feeling about this relationship, wishing the timing was different, still feeling the love, and grieving the letting go. It’s not the first time I’ve loved someone and let them go; it’s an interesting type of Grief, one that you invite in, but even knowing it’s coming, it doesn’t make it any easier. You grieve the memories you made and moments you had together, but you also grieve the life you dreamed of with them, the one you imagined you’d have. In a recent conversation with a friend, I mentioned this ending, and she said, “that’s the greatest and hardest love, the one we love and let go of.” 

Grieving my miscarriage

About a month and a half ago, I visited some dear friends in Hampshire. It’s with these friends and in this area that I spent a weekend in some beautiful woodlands at a retreat listening to a myth, writing poetry, and crying my eyes out from the Grief of the miscarriage. Although three years had passed, when I went back to those woodlands, it brought me straight back to that time in my life, feelings and all. I reflected on how much had since changed and how different my path was. Only a few days after, I’d met up with my ex-flatmate, someone that had been there during my miscarriage. I never thought how doing so would bring up so many memories from the past and feel about that. That same evening I had a dream that I had a miscarriage, I was screaming in pain in my dream, and when I woke up, I felt like I was drowning in my Grief. I couldn’t stop crying, and it felt like I was reliving that pain all over again.

Grieving untrodden paths

I recently had the pleasure of spending a spa day with my best friend, just chilling. We got talking about where we were and how much had changed for us. We talked about how different our lives could be right now and how much changed due to what seemed like very trivial decisions at the time. We thought about what life would be like if we could go back and experience all the paths we didn’t take and then decide which one we’d choose to live. A recent experience made me think about the path I wish I could have experienced. I was sitting on the tube; I don’t remember where exactly I was going, and I was completely mesmerised by a little girl. I couldn’t take my eyes away from her, and when my thoughts eventually caught up with my feelings, I felt my heart tighten. I thought about how if things had turned out differently and I hadn’t have had a miscarriage, I would be a mother right now. 

Grieving who I was

This has probably been the most challenging Grief to sit with, the one I’ve been most resistant to. On the professional side, it has meant thinking about where I want to be and what I need to let go of to make room for the new. It’s grieving things that for a long time I thought were important, things that no longer align with who I am. Personally, I have never been more challenged this year, between living abroad during a pandemic, having ongoing health issues, coming back to my homeland UK and reconnecting with both my estranged parents. As a result, I have grown immensely, and who I am today considerably different from who I was at the start of the year. But putting this year aside, which quite frankly felt like Grief on steroids, I have been grieving a whole lot longer than this recent period. I have been grieving, processing and letting go ever since the miscarriage. It fundamentally changed who I am, and it feels like I’m finally at the end of that cycle. 

Grieving my parents

This is one topic that could pretty much be a whole article on its own. Through reconnecting with my parents, I realised that I had to come to peace with the fact that I didn’t have the parents I needed. That at times they wouldn’t be able to give me the love I needed. They were incapable of acknowledging the pain they caused. While I was glad to reconnect with both my mother and my father, there was an underlying sadness about it all, Grief. I had to grieve the childhood that I didn’t have, the one where I got to be a child. If I wanted to continue a relationship with them, I knew I needed to let go of the idea of what I wanted to embrace, who they were, and what I did have with them. This didn’t mean exempting them from what they did, but it meant forgiving them and healing my inner child’s Grief. This Grief, in a way, while it feels present has been pretty much a lifetime of Grief. 

Interestingly I’ve felt that my Grief has wanted to pour itself out on the page, but that’s not always been the case. Sometimes it wants to sit with me; other times, it doesn’t want to leave my side. I’ve often questioned how much is Grief and how much is collective grief? I’ve lost track of how many conversations I’ve had with friends and clients about their current grieving process. We grieve the things we love and lose, whether that’s by choice or not, but with that Grief comes forgiveness. I forgive my body for not working, I forgave my parents for choosing not to heal their wound, I forgave a man for holding onto me for too long, I forgave myself. It also comes with the awareness that things aren’t and will never be the same again. A friend in the beautiful woodlands that I mentioned earlier, asked me “what am I composting?” and I struggled to answer until now. What I’m composting as this year comes to an end is my Grief, and if there’s one thing I know about Grief, there is no greater #FromTraumatoTriumph.

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