When you survive loss

“When you survive loss … everyone is so quick to tell you how strong you are. And how tough you must be. But actually, no one has a choice to survive grief … do they? It’s not optional. You just have to cry in the shower, sob into a pillow, and pray you make it.” Zoe Clark-Coates.

I find this quote so powerful. It is so true.

Survival is about resilience. Our resilience is what allows us to muddle through and somehow survive the unthinkable. On more than one occasion I have heard a client complain about being constantly told “you are so strong” when they don’t feel it. For other people watching, and imagining what it would be like to experience such a loss, it does feel like superhuman strength to survive.

If you are surviving loss take a moment to stop and think. Realise you have strength you didn’t realise you had. You may feel like a total mess, but you are getting through most days and that is an amazing achievement given what you are going through. You have what it takes to survive this. You may not particularly want to survive this, but you will. As the quote says “no one has a choice to survive grief … It’s not optional.”

This quote reminds us that surviving grief is not optional. We have to do it. And we largely do it alone. Few people have the stamina to see another person through all the ups and down of acute grief.

Consequently, much grief is conducted alone.

And it is lonely.

Grief disconnects you from all others, even those close to you who may be grieving too.

Every grief is unique, even when it is for the same person.

Inevitably you are alone.

But the good thing is, no matter how hard and awful it is, you do survive.

You don’t have a choice.

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