#fangirlfriday is back and I’m so honored to share words from @thatgoodgrief. Rachel’s mother and father died from brain cancer within two years of each other. She shares her thoughts on how grief impacts relationships below:
“Suffering a significant loss can often feel like the rug was pulled out from under you, scrambling to find a way to relate to the same world you’ve been living in for decades under wholly new terms. Just as the loss isn’t only your own, this relearning, this reimagining of reality isn’t your own either. A partner who is with you, standing by your side during these most challenging times, has to relearn the world with you. .
That’s part of the reason I’ve always resented the saying “So sorry for your loss”, as if the loss is owned and carried solely by the person you’re speaking to.
Both of my parents passed away in the past two years from terminal brain cancer, leaving behind me (I’m 29) and my brother (he’s 27). In that time, I also married my partner of four years. I’d never argue that the loss of my parents was mine alone, or even just mine and my brother’s. It was a loss for every life they touched and the lives they won’t have a chance to touch, including their future grandchildren.
As Leslie Jamison writes in The Empathy Exams, “No trauma has discrete edges”. So when it comes to understanding how grief impacts a relationship, it’s almost impossible to measure where loss ends and life begins.
Every relationship runs on its own rollercoaster - ups, downs, and loop-de-loops. And every human on earth will experience grief at some point - whether it be from the death of a family member, a furry companion, or a long-standing relationship. Which also means everyone has their own experience with loss and the subsequent grief - there is no one way, or right way to cope. But there is one through line: survival. .
It’s exhausting. It’s inconsistent. It’s confusing. It’s hard to say what exactly you want or need at a given moment, other than “not that”. Sometimes, it’s disgust for physical touch. Sometimes, all you want is a human hand. It requires more patience than a parent of triplet toddlers.
But... (continued in comments)