Dealing with grief is hard, that’s undeniable. One thing it does though, is put life into perspective. It makes you appreciate everything you have, what is truly important in life and emphasises that we should all live life to the fullest. This article is my personal story on grief, and the lessons it taught me.
A Personal Story of Grief
*this article was initially published in June 2018. Text and quotes about living life to the fullest updated in June 2020*
On Wednesday last week, I received some very sad news. My grandmother, who had been in hospital for the previous two weeks had sadly passed away. I was in Zurich at the time on a work trip, and when told the news, I felt utterly helpless as I knew I was away from home when all my family needed to be together. As I write this, I am now on a plane back to the UK, with plans to travel home to Malta tomorrow.
As I sit here, I have a lot of thoughts running through my mind. I feel like nowadays people only see the good or positive things in people’s lives, particularly on social media, so I wanted to write a short post on what I am feeling at the moment during this period of grief.
When it comes to the death of a loved one, no matter how old, there are no words that can help. Sometimes you just need some time alone to grieve in the only way you know how, and that could be anything. I constantly need to feel like I am busy or doing something, however I could not continue with my meetings as I couldn’t force a smile for the rest of the day.
Instead I headed back to my hotel just to be alone and in all honesty, I went to the gym. I was lucky that there was no one else there, and I spent an hour and a half or so alone with the weights and periodically checking in with home for status updates. I actually felt much better afterwards as I felt that I relieved some of the sadness and tension that I was feeling previously, through exerting myself physically.
How I Plan to Live Life to the Fullest
My next thought was how short life is, and that when you wake up in the morning, you have no idea whether it will be your last day or what will unfold in the day that lies ahead of you.
You hear people say this all the time, but after I’ve seen the passing of a second grandparent in two years, I really believe you need to live your life out exactly as you want to. Don’t waste any time. If there something you want to do, be it travel more, get fit, write a novel, sky dive, run a marathon – just do it. Find your version of success. One day, you may no longer get the chance to do it. Life is just far too short to be living life in a way that makes you feel unsatisfied, doing things that you don’t want to do day after day.
As soon as I heard the news, I started making arrangements to get back home and spend time with family. It made me think how lucky we are as a family, despite all the normal problems that every family has, to all be together and to have each other. Whether you are a family of two or twelve, be appreciative of each other and never take each other for granted. When I talk about family, I don’t necessarily refer to blood relatives. I’m grateful for all of the people I am very close to and those that are always there during times of difficulty and sadness.
I also thought about how important it is to keep myself healthy and active, both physically and mentally, to ensure that I live the longest, healthiest and fullest life possible.
Of course, I can’t control what is around the corner or what will happen to me tomorrow, but I can control what I do with my body and I can influence my family and friends on what they do with theirs, in the hopes that we all live the best versions of our lives possible. I can’t stress enough how important it is to eat well, to be active and move your body, to try (as hard as it may be) to live as much of a stress-free life as possible, to cut out or reduce those unnecessary vices and to focus on finding balance and happiness within oneself.
If you are struggling in any of those areas, take some time out for yourself and think about those things that you can do for yourself and your loved ones to make a difference to your life for the better.
Now, I am no psychologist and of course these are just my own ramblings as I sit quietly with my thoughts. The subject of grieving goes far beyond the few hundred words that I just put down above, but I would love to hear about your thoughts on losing a loved one and your coping mechanisms, and how it, in some ways, inspires you to live the best possible version of you and to live life to the fullest. If you know someone going through a hard time, share this article in the hopes that it could help.
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