Black Mental Health, Faith & Spirituality, Grief & Coping, Journey to PhD

Grieving while Grinding

Grief sucks. I know that’s not at all profound, nor terribly encouraging, but it’s true. When it’s all said and done, grief really sucks.

It doesn’t care who you are, where you’re from or how much money you have.

It strikes whenever it wants and there’s nothing that we can do to prevent it.

I’ve found that my grief is now compounded by me being a full-time PhD student. Grief doesn’t care that I have to study for a certification exam. Or that I have a research team meeting in an hour. Or that I only have 5 pages completed out a required 20 for my final paper.

Grief comes and stays for however long it wants. It’s cyclical and doesn’t (usually) announce itself before it shows up. It literally comes in waves.

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Some days are good. Some days are terrible. Some days are just okay. Some days are amazing. And some days, I’m so numb and in disbelief that it doesn’t make any sense.

But it’s still my reality. Today marks the 2 year anniversary of my Superman’s transition to Heaven. This particular loss has been so utterly life-changing that it’s hard to imagine my life without such grief. It sucks. I wrote about how I learned to live with grief and loss on an earlier post, here –Grieving…Faithfully.

If you grew up anything like me, you’ve been told not to cry or that grief only lasts a little while because “joy comes in the morning.”

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But I’ve found that only half of this is true. Joy does come in the morning, but grief doesn’t really go away. It just takes on a new shape as time goes on. But it’s always there.

Sometimes, grief’s presence is loud and deafening. Other times, grief is soft, subtle and sobering. Then, there are times when grief is so painfully silent and still that you wonder if it’ll ever go away?

Knowing that joy is coming doesn’t stop my tears from flowing. I’ve been stopped in my tracks during the day by grief. In the midst of typing papers, cleaning my apartment, and sometimes even while commuting to campus in the morning.

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What’s helped me during my #grievingwhilegrinding, is allowing my tears and feelings to come without interruption. Yes, it’s inconvenient and no, I don’t usually have a full day to be immobilized by immense sadness or a broken heart.

But telling myself that I don’t have time to heal because class is starting or because my advisor is expecting me to call in 30 minutes, doesn’t help me to cope well, either.

I have to remind myself that whatever needs to get done, will get done. But NOTHING will get done if I don’t take care of myself and allow myself to grieve, mourn, and heal.

Graduate school is a process and so is grieving. When the two happen together, it can be mentally, spiritually, and academically exhausting.

Take care of yourself. Let the tears flow. Write it out. Stay inside. Go outside. Whatever you need to do to honor who you are loving and missing in the moment.

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Jesus knows my heart is broken and He loves me anyway. He loves you, too.

You’re in my prayers,

Raven K.

 

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