heart-shaped leaf broken into parts but put back together with caption 'why do they say grief is circular?' by Aayooba's blog
Think Pieces

Why do they say grief is circular?

When I was 19, I lost my grandmother and it was one of the most challenging periods of grief in my life. That whole year of her death went by with me looking for a coping mechanism for the gaping hole that her demise had created. Honestly, it felt like I was experiencing sadness on an endless loop. And although it was a tough time that I eventually overcame, mostly with the love and support I received from those around me who didn’t let me be by my poor self, I can’t shake the fact that some days come and I still feel lost.

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More often times than not, we pretend to understand grief. Merely speaking of it, it seems straightforward enough. After all, grief is that emotion you feel in the face of a temporary or permanent loss of something or someone. According to experts, it’s said to begin when you first experience said loss and may span for a remarkably long stretch of time. In my head, I’ve always imagined some straightforward line that inevitably came to an end after a certain extended period must have passed. Time, after all, they say, heals all wounds. Right?

Let me be clear: I don’t grieve for my grandma all the time anymore. Some days, I don’t even remember her at all and that makes me sad because this woman represented a big part of my existence. Apparently, this is a thing that happens and I shouldn’t feel so guilty about it. And then there are the other days, where the pain of her loss grips me as if it’s only just happened and I find myself tumbling back down into that abyss of despondency.

Photo by Irina Anastasiu

It brought me to a point where I had to ask myself whether the grief ever ends, and if it does, when? I found that like many things in life, grief is subjective and each person goes through their own rush of emotions in different ways and for relatively different stretches of time. However, one thing that appears to be constant with many people that have gone through grief is that they could experience it, pack it all in and then it comes around and slaps them in the face again. Grieving, I have realised, doesn’t necessarily have an endpoint.

I understand that to think about it this way is incomparably sad but I think it’s comforting to know that even though the feeling of loss might not necessarily end, it does gets better with time. This year makes it seven years since her demise and I haven’t missed her in the past three years as I did in this one. It’s indeed gotten better over the years.

I know that there will be times like this year when I’d miss her a lot and get all the feels. I am also aware though that there will be moments where I won’t think about her at all, for long periods even. But that’s okay too because it doesn’t change who she was to me or how much my love for her will remain. And on that note, I wish for respite for everyone going through grief. It really does get better, I can attest to that.

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2 thoughts on “Why do they say grief is circular?

  1. No one can understand grief more than the aggrieved. Its been a rollercoaster of emotions since over 2 years I lost my Dad. Sometimes I feel sad for moving on and probably forgetting him already, other times I believe he wouldn’t be happy wherever he is seeing me sad and aggrieved. I think grief is best understood when its felt. Welldone Boo, sending u a big warm hug. May Mama continue to rest in peace.

    1. It’s very surreal how I had you in mind while I wrote this piece. I hope that it gets better for you and that you’ll continue to hang in there, my love. Thank you for reading. ❤️

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