What is grief?
What is grief? What is grief to you? What is grieving? What is grieving to you?
When we lose someone or something- we feel grief. It is something I have come to know well but something I only know for myself. I've found that any defintion of grief that is out there- as an "answer" to that loss- has been inpersonal and innacurate. There are many people calling themselves experts and creating "stages of grief" that have never once felt helpful or accurate to me. I've learned many things about grief and some of those things might align with your experiences of grief- but they also might not. We can share or not share those things- and that is the beautiful thing. Our experiences don't have to match in order for us to find support with our grief.
We explore this more in Episode 105 "Grief: Somewhere Only We Know"
Grief: Somewhere Only We Know (Transcript)
[00:00:00] What is up. I am Erez Shek and you are checking in with The Shek Check. The podcast dropping gems of awareness that hopefully lets you take it inward to work that self awareness muscle of yours- because that's hot - promoting that self check fact check to better understand how you think feel and behave in relation to this crazy wacky
[00:00:27] world. And today let's talk and tackle something very light and breezy. Let's talk about grief.
Let's get Shekked. Let's get Shekked. Let's get Shekked. Let's get Shekked.
Grief. As a topic of conversation on social media and in the public sphere. Dare I say, it's trending.
[00:00:54] Obviously it's not really a hot topic people want to be faced with, but, uh, the reality is all of us will grieve in our lifetime. If we love, if we have loved, if we hold love, if we feel love- we will have felt grief.
There is this quote by actor Andrew Garfield that grabbed me strongly. He was on a talk show, uh, somewhat recently. And he was asked a question about losing his mother and about his
[00:01:21] grief and grieving. And he said, this. "The grief that will remain with us until we pass, because we never get enough time with each other, no matter whether someone lives until 60 or 15 or 99. I hope this grief stays with me because it's all of the unexpressed love that I didn't get to tell her. And I told her every day" End quote.
If we know love, we know grief, I think, well, for me, right? Because I'm
[00:01:48] not an expert on grief or love. No one really is. Andrew Garfield isn't either, but he is currently an expert in his experiences of love and grief in this instance. And I am an expert at my experiences of love and grief in relation and in context to when I have felt it. You might be too.. It's because grief and grieving is individual to each of us, like
[00:02:15] anything. It moves and flows based on our experiences and based on our relationships and whether we know it or not, we experience it expertly. See what I did there?
In my lifetime. I have lost and I have grieved. I have lost my grandparents. I have lost other family members. I have lost friends and schoolmates. I have lost a boyfriend. I have lost my father. Grief and
[00:02:42] grieving. It doesn't get normalized because of that though, you know, at least in my experiences because you can't really group grief in a general and broad place because the people you grieve are individuals, right? And every time I grieve, I'm grieving an individual in which I've had a unique experience with and a unique relationship with that is how we all live. And that is how we all live,
[00:03:09] how we live after others are no longer living.
How can I make that make sense more because yes, it's, it's broad, it's general, but there's a uniqueness to it that can't be put into words.
You know, recently I got together with a friend and our conversation led to grief and this friend of mine has also lost their father and both of us have grieved and still feel grief in completely different
[00:03:36] ways. Which in my eyes is the point and it it's wildly important to know and to note. I cannot dictate his experience and he cannot dictate mine but here's some takeaways from our experiences and the things that we did agree upon around our conversation about grief and grieving.
Grief cannot be taught in a book. I don't care how much school you've been to, how much book knowledge you've
[00:04:03] acquired. Grief and grieving cannot be pathologized and cannot be properly taught until, and unless it has been lived. Grief cannot be understood unless it has been felt and when it is felt, at its peak, it cannot be understood. If at one of its peaks for me, whilst grieving, I could not have explained to you what it felt like because I could barely understand it. It's like such a heavy mix of other emotions because
[00:04:30] for me that's what grieving was. A tornado of emotions happening in slow motion and yet in hyper drive. So at its peak, I would not have been able to explain that to you. And even now in that explanation to you, I don't, I'm not even entirely sure if that made sense or if it was clear. For my friend though, they described it as a lack of emotion- muted energy. You know, blocked off almost. Now, along those
[00:04:57] lines with the years that have passed with those I've lost and those I felt grief for and grieve for. We grieve forever in just different ways and in different forms. And there are peaks and valleys. There are smooth roads and rocky ones. It's there though. And it's not really consistent, right? Like, it's not like, oh, more time has passed, so it's easier. I found that sometimes some days, some years when we are
[00:05:24] remembering the lives that we have lost. Some years it's harder. Some years it's easier. Some years, it just doesn't fully register and there's nothing really consistent about it. And I know that sounds scary, but it is what it is. Might not be like a hopeful message that we're kind of, you know, inclined to cling onto. But I actually think it's very hopeful because it keeps them alive in some way.
[00:05:51] Something else that we kind of agreed on is that all relationships differ. So the way we grieve and feel grief for one person or for the same person will be different. Right? I mean, and that can feel lonely. And at other times it's a celebration of a unique connection. Like the way I grieve for my father was completely different than the way others grieved my father, right? I think we think that people are supposed to grieve in a certain way, but I think that's ignorant to the fact that our
[00:06:18] relationships with people differ. The relationship my mother had with my father is most certainly different than the relationship I had with my father so her grief and her grieving of that relationship of her relationship with him is going to be different of how I feel those feelings, duh. The relationship other family members had with my father are different than the relationship I had with my father. Different dynamics. Different interactions. Different understandings of each other.
[00:06:45] Different relationships. Different feelings of grief. Different relations of grief. There's absolutely no way that we would feel grief in the same way. There's absolutely no way that we would grieve for the same person in the same way because that person is essentially different to each of us. And again, it's one of those things that might sound lonely and it can be, but there's something also really beautiful because it honors
[00:07:12] how unique a person is to you and it's something that nobody can ever take away from you. How unique an individual is and how unique your relationship with that person is. It's all yours. That's beautiful.
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Here is another one. Grief is versatile. It's not always tears. It's not always a void in your life, a missing space at a table and all the feelings that come with that. Sometimes
[00:07:39] grief and grieving for me was laughter and overpowering feelings of affection and daydreams and dreams of that person. Grief lives in the happy memories- not always a hole, not always the loss. Grief is versatile.
And here's the one that I think is a harder pill to swallow. Nobody can teach you or show you how to grieve "properly". I put quotes around the properly. Despite what
[00:08:06] some self-help books will tell you or what some grief experts on social media will tell you- there are no steps to grief or grieving. It can be the scariest thing because it feels so large. So open. So messy. There's no map. It can seem overwhelming and terrifying, but it's also spacious and free. And when we are in pain, we need that space as
[00:08:33] much as we desire for the containment.
Grief has been so many things to me, grieving has been so many different things to me and I don't think there is a way to properly explain it because it's unexplainable. But clearly I decided to try in this episode. I know that in my lifetime I will continue to grieve and that I will grieve many other people many times over. I'm sure I will feel grief. And
[00:09:00] while there is no one who will know what my grief. I know that there are people who will be on roads that are close by and that there will be a hand to hold on that journey, even if we're not on the same exact ones. I think when you focus on finding the hands of support, Supporting each other. You don't need to be having the same exact experience or feeling the same exact way or experiencing things the same way or
[00:09:27] having the same emotional experiences. It's enough to just be there in support of each other. That is enough. That hand is enough. Standing next to someone is enough.
Something to sit with or sit on or sit around this week. However you sit with The Shek Check- or walk with or like whatever, you know.
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And thank you so much for joining me this week. Please keep taking care of yourself on this bumpy road that we are all on because when you're taking care of yourself, you are also taking care of those around you. And we need that. We
[00:10:21] need all of that. Big fan of that for you and for all of us.
Until next time, Shek Check out.