After my last essay was published, numerous readers reached out thanking me for writing what I do. For delving into grief openly and deeply in a way that resonated with each of them. For letting them know that they are not alone in the vast world of grief that on occasion feels like it might swallow you whole.
In my current position as a brain injury advocate, I am constantly speaking of the value of support groups, of the significance of survivors attending support groups and almost universally discovering that they are not alone in their struggle and recovery. It's funny, because until this latest flood of messages, I never thought to compare grief writing to a support group, but it ends up with a similar result and the unequivocal message: you are not alone.
Here is what one reader wrote:
"I just wanted to thank you. For writing those articles about grief and for understanding me so well when it seems nobody else does. You touched a place very deep in me and wrote things I've been feeling but haven't been able express or put into words. I also lost my husband to cancer 7 months ago. He was 31. We have a now 4 year old son together. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your writings. It's comforting to know that I'm not the only who feels these things and that it's ok. Thank you." -S.K.
This kind of response to my writing makes my heart swell. I started writing about my loss primarily as a way to work through my own grief and struggles as a young widow; single, grieving parent; mother; and woman, but as time has gone on, I try to also keep in mind the possible good that my words might do, how they might bring love and light to someone else in the dark place of early grief, in the bewildering days immediately post-loss, or the commingling denial and hope of anticipatory grief.
Please remember: you are not alone. Though everyone grieves differently and no one else can do the work of grief for you, you are not alone. Though it often feels that way, you are not alone. When in doubt, repeat to yourself: you are not alone.