What grief taught me about relationships.

I remember the day my mother died and I couldn’t explain or fathom what pain I felt at the time. Everyone who came around at that time did their best to be there for us but for some reason, at the age of 15 years, I knew that this magnitude of friends and family would change the minute we buried my mum. And for sure, that’s exactly what happened.

So what’s the connection between grief and relationships? I find that it is mostly in the change that has happened in the life of the bereaved, not so much with those around that person.

Psychologists say that every individual takes in grief differently but most of the time the stages of grief are similar for everyone bereaved. Denial, Anger, Sadness, and then Acceptance. The levels and duration all depend on the person and how their personality and environment are conducive or insufficient, to help them deal with the grief.

John from Nairobi shares his experience of grief, “We lost our firstborn in 2014, that was the very first death in our family. It affected my realization of what death is and what it means to me as a person. My sister was married. When she passed on going to visit her husband stopped and now the relationship we had with the in-laws changed, even though we communicate once in a while.”

When going through grief, I think it makes someone more aware of what kind of person you want to be known for, and that is what changes your interaction with people. When a person dies, whatever vision they had, whoever they were, is gone and died with them. But for us who are left behind, we must ask the question, how do we want to be remembered?

The only way we can be remembered, more so for something great, is by impacting the memories that people have of us, through how we operate in the relationships we have with them.

How do we deal with our relationships when we feel like grief has torn them apart? We deal with what can be worked on and we let go of what has surpassed its time in your life. Where there is room for reconciliation in the future, welcome it with the awareness that it is all about legacy.

Life is seasonal, and so are our relationships. The work is in the impact that we make in people’s lives, other than the number of people we have in our lives.


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