Editorial: To those who are still grieving

by Yuvthi Misser


My mother passed away in 2013. I was only 11 years old and I had seen my loving, warm mother dwindle into a woman I no longer recognised. Like most traumatic events that are burnt into our memory, I remember everything about the night of her passing in perfect, hazy detail. I remember the smell of the hand sanitiser from the hospital, I remember how my fuzzy gown did a poor job of keeping me warm, and I remember my mother dying with a smile on her face.


I am 20 years old now, and my experience with grief differs from others. Everyone’s experience with grief is varied and complex but what I have noticed is that we all want to be understood. Grieving is a hard thing to talk about and an even harder thing to describe to someone who has it.


All the cliché sayings about grief usually sound like, “it will get easier with time.” While that is true in some capacity, I feel like this gives the impression that one day your grief will disappear. One day you will stop crying and you will only feel happiness anytime you think of the person you have lost. But the hard truth is that there is no real end to the grieving process, it doesn’t just end with acceptance.


It’s been nine years of grieving and there are moments where I look at a piece of clothing that my mother has and I feel absolutely nothing. Sometimes, most often on days where I am caught off guard, I’ll hear a song that reminds me of her or notice that I can almost see her in my reflection and I’ll be curled up on the floor, clutching my chest and sobbing.


According to Tonkin’s Model of grief, our life is a circle and when we begin to mourn someone we experience the entire circle filling with grief. At first, it is overwhelming and consuming but after a while, your life goes on and you begin to grow around it. It does not go away and it is not forgotten but you begin to accommodate it within your life. You learn that there is more to life than loss. I have not spent every day of the last nine years crying, but I have had my fair share of bad moments. My life has progressed to a point where I am a completely different person with new experiences versus who I was at the age of 11. My circle is completing itself while keeping a warm, cosy spot for the memory of my mother.

Image design by Yuvthi Misser

Another analogy for grief that I relate to, even more, is ‘the ball and the box.’ In this analogy, your grief is a big bouncing ball in a small box with a ‘pain button’ on one of the walls. The ball is so big that it bounces against the pain very often. However, as time goes on the ball may shrink and hit the pain button occasionally, but most of the time it is just bouncing from wall to wall. As time passes, the ball continues to grow smaller, hitting the pain button less. When it does hit the pain button though, it hurts just as it did in the beginning.

Image design by Yuvthi Misser

Contrary to popular belief, grief is too much of a complicated emotion to be gone after a couple of years. I believe that people are never truly “over” the loss of someone important. Losing my mother was one of the worst things I’ve had to experience, and pretending like it doesn’t affect me to this day is unrealistic.


So if you are struggling with grief or mourning the loss of a loved one, allow yourself to feel. You are allowed to be sad and to be in pain, you are allowed to think of them years later and cry. Allow yourself a little place for grief to make a home within you, but do not let it consume you. You are more than who you have lost and the people you have lost are more than just your grief.



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