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You Do Not Owe Anyone Your Grief

Written by Millennial In debt on March 15, 2024

I’m sitting here, trying to find my way back to myself. The version of me that existed just a month ago. Even the version of me from 19 days ago would suffice. I didn’t know then that I’d so desperately long for her now. How could I ever have imagined that I’d silently scream out for her into an endless stream of “how are you’s” and “this is God’s plan”. 

Because what else can you say to someone who has had to unexpectedly put down their beloved pet of 15+ years and suffer another monstrosity of a tragedy in the same week. NOTHING

There is nothing anyone can say to bring you back because you are lost in a void they can not see. They can not understand. It is not their fault. 

Grief is ugly.
Grief is unkind.
Grief is difficult.
Grief is messy. So fucking messy. 

It makes a mess of everything it touches. Whether it's intentional or not, it doesn’t matter, nothing can escape the mess. 

Grief is the eerie silence you can’t seem to escape, no matter how loud you cry.

The darkness that walks beside you making it impossible to move forward and unbearable to look back. 

So you just stand there. Still + silent. 

It is the weight on your chest, and the hand pressed firmly around your neck. Breathing effortlessly is a luxury you no longer have. The rhythmic routine you grew accustomed to has been replaced by an emphatic staccato. Sharp. Painful.

Grief is unsettling. 

You think things you didn’t even think you were capable of thinking. You realize just how dark you can get and it's scary.

Grief is non linear.

I’ve watched sad movies before. I’ve sung sad songs about loss. I’ve felt heartbreak before and all its magnanimous emotional devastation. I’ve always known grief can take on many shapes and sizes. But sometimes it isn’t an identifiable shape or a mass you can measure. Sometimes it's an infinite wormhole  threatening to tear you apart from the inside out. 

Grief is uncomfortable. 

It is uncomfortable for those around you. 

[if you are feeling alone +

need someone to reach out to / speak to:

SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.

CALL :  1-800-662-HELP (4357)

Grief unwinds itself uniquely. No two grief stricken people are the same. There’s no one size fits all solution. So people rack their brains endlessly to try and piece you back together because they love you. They want you to feel better, they want things to go back to how they were. They want. They want. They want. 

How can you abruptly stop being the light in a world you designed for yourself as the sun?  

I have spent my entire life living in the spotlight of my own making and as I navigate the depths of my loss I crave nothing more than silence and solitude.

I wish I didn't. I want nothing more than to simply get up and be the light. I want to be that person my friends and family know and love. Now I'm just someone they miss. Someone they worry about.

I have never sat with myself in this way before. As someone who has fought endlessly with depression for the last 15 years, I do not have any fight left in me. This particular pain is forcing me to find another way. It is a torturous road, but one I feel at its inception I must travel alone. 

But I am so loved. I am so loved and so thankful to be loved every moment of every day. That is not something I take lightly. It is something I value beyond words. But in this moment it is both my gift and my burden. 

I can feel the discomfort in your text. I can see the sadness in your eyes. I can hear the despair in your voice. 

Yes, my whole world has been flipped upside down. I know that, and you know that. 

First loss, second loss, on your mark get set go. Quick click of the stopwatch. The timer is on and we all want to know, but will never ever ask:

  • When are you going to be normal again?
  • How much time do you need before you can text normally again?
  • When can we hang out?
  • When are you going to get over it?
  • When are you going to come back online?
  • When are you going to start posting regular again?
  • When can I send you memes and pictures?
  • Are you ready to talk about it yet?


I can not give you the person I was, because I can not find her. I may never be able to find her. I don't have the strength to carry the conversations or be the person I used to be for you. And that devastates me.

Unfortunately there is no gift card or floral arrangement that can move the needle from denial to acceptance. I desperately wish there was a magic key or switch I could flip. But there isn't.

I am not the first person to process loss and I certainly won’t be the last. There are people who have faced far bigger losses than I have. There are people who have harnessed their grief and done remarkable things during their healing process. Amazing things that have helped so many people learn how to heal and cope with their own grief and loss. 

I am not one of those people. 

My grief is drowning me in sadness and anger. That is what I feel all day, every day, and for the sake of keeping up appearances for the people I love, I lie. 

I’ve been lying, so no one else has to witness any parts of my grief.  
I’ve been lying because I don’t want to be a burden.
I’ve been lying so I can stop getting texts asking me if I ate, am I sleeping, or how am I feeling.
I’ve been lying so people can gain a sense of comfort in knowing they checked in on their broken loved one. 
I’ve been lying because each time I’ve tried to tell the truth I’m told to be strong, push through, or that God has a plan. 
I’ve been lying so I can have more moments of pretending to be normal again 
I’ve been lying because I do not want to re-live the moments that broke me today, or yesterday, or the day before that. 

I don’t owe you that. I love you, but...

I don’t owe you an explanation as to how I tried to eat and my body immediately threw it up. 
I don’t need to tell you that I haven’t slept in 48 hours because every time I close my eyes I relive the trauma of that week. 

I can’t imagine the good it would do telling you that I had to change menstrual pads 8 times today because the bleeding is incessant. 

Because where do we go from there? Do we then pivot into talking about the weather or the latest sports record Lebron just broke? 

Probably not.

So I’m left walking a very fine line. One where I am beyond blessed and thankful to have the love and support of those in my life. And also feel the need to protect what little of me is left behind while walking through the maleficent consequences of grief. 

What do I do now?

There is a hope I cling to – that one day I will wake up and it will be different. Not that it will get better, but I will feel differently.

And for right now... that is the best I can do.

Hey there! I'm Melissa, co-founder of Trials n Tresses, natural hair and beauty lover, binge tv watcher and lover of life. When I am not creating content for TNT, I'm busy teaching the future of society.
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  1. Grief is a bitch. I lost my baby Brother, doggie, cousin and godfather from 2020-2021. It changes you forever. Be you and do you. Your loved ones will understand.

  2. Grief is hard, and it stretches on forever, in different ways. The loss is proportionate to the love. Do what you need to just to get by for a while. Reach out when you need to. Consider professional help if you're still struggling and it's impacting your ability to function. Know that so many people understand, even if they don't talk about it. It's the club no one wants to belong to. Keeping you in my thoughts.

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