Established 1826 — Oldest College Newspaper West of the Alleghenies

This holiday season, let yourself grieve

By Emma Kinghorn, Guest Columnist

Moving through the holiday season, in the midst of all the sparkle and jingley cheer, many notice a hole in the Yuletide celebrations. This gap is almost impossible to fill, as loved ones are never truly replaceable.

Months, even years after we lose them, either from our lives or from the world as a whole, the grieving process continues on.

Grief sets on everyone's shoulders a little differently. Some wear it well, taking it in stride and continuing to race through life. On others it sits a little heavier, slowing them down, but only a small time in the road.

But, for others still, grief is something that becomes a small part of their everyday lives.

This looks different for everyone; no two people will ever deal with the same grief the same way, because no matter how much people on the outside want to, they can never wholly understand. No one will ever have the same relationship, the same perception, the same grief that you do.

And that's okay.

Some days are harder than others, some days it's an afterthought, some days it's a weight from the time you get up until the time you go back to sleep. Other days it doesn't drag you down, but it is a recurring thought in the back of your mind.

Some people don't get that -- they look at your grief process and wonder why it's not like their own. It's been 'x' amount of time, why would this still bother you? Why does such and such make you cry? Why can't you do this anymore?

And that's not okay.

To belittle someone's grieving process because it differs from your own, or to serve your own agenda, is not okay. You cannot cast people aside, labeled as depressed, unhinged or "nuts," solely based on the fact that shitty things happened to them.

For those that grieve, that feel in full force their loss, it's a slap in the face to have someone with little to no authority on the matter categorize your actions as "mentally unstable."

Things happen. People break. People heal. It's a natural part of life to grieve, it's an innate piece of human nature, and in order to move on, sometimes you have to take a step back. Feeling pain, crying in the bathroom when their favorite song comes on, or when you go to your place for the first time, or when it just hits you all over again that they are never coming back? It is all okay. It's arguably healthy.

Repressed, incomplete or "blocked" grief is one that can cause physical and mental effects, both in the short and long term. From mental symptoms such as irritability, numbness, an inability to feel joy, to physical pain that manifests in chest pain, headaches and severe fatigue, denying yourself the opportunity to grieve, in whatever manner, can be dangerous.

This Christmas season, if you feel the absence of someone weigh on your holiday spirit, let it. Let yourself grieve, screw what anyone else says.