There is no good way to describe how loss can affect those who are touched by it. Dealing with loss is one of the most difficult things I have had to face. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Grief is an unpredictable emotion, and for me, dealing with it while in college has been a major challenge. Whether it’s a family member, friend or a beloved pet, it all hurts our souls the same. My freshman year, I got a phone call from my sister that made me burst out into tears. My dog since the third grade, Fiona, had passed away.
For a while, I blamed myself; I was away at school blissfully unaware of her suffering. I wasn’t there for her in her final moments. Even years after, Fiona will appear in my dreams. For some people, seeing those they’ve lost in dreams provides comfort – sadly I can’t say the same. I wish seeing her brought me happiness, but it only reminds me that I wasn’t there for her. I loved that dog with all my heart and even writing this now is making me cry.
Ultimately what my point here is, don’t feel bad or guilty for being sad. It feels like the pain will never go away – sometimes it doesn’t. Grief doesn’t operate on a schedule. Sometimes you’ll hear a song that reminds you of them, or a funny meme that you know would have made them laugh. All you want to do sometimes is just to feel the comfort of their embrace. Sometimes the smallest things will trigger an emotional response, and hey, that’s okay! Acknowledge your pain. Ignoring it will only make it worse in the long run. Processing emotions is tough but remember that you are not alone.
There are many sources online that will provide immediate help if you need it. Some of the websites you can visit include:
1. Mental Health America: Bereavement and Grief mhanational.org/bereavement-and-grief
2. SAMHSA samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline
3. Help Guide: Coping with Grief and Loss helpguide.org/articles/grief/coping-with-grief-and-loss.htm
Having a strong support system is key when going through any type of loss. Family and friends will have your back, and if you feel like you have no one, campus resources are here for you, too. There are multiple crisis hotlines you can call as well. Here’s a previously mentioned link to a grief helpline:
Grief is a rollercoaster, and talking about your feelings is one of the best ways to work through the difficult times. You don’t have to suffer alone.