Ivan Samkov

The Truth Is, Grief Is Just A Form Of Love

You know when John Lennon said, “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans”? that hit me real hard when I lost my dad a month ago. I was so caught up from planning what to do the entire day that my entire world stopped revolving the moment I heard the words “time of death”.

Sometimes, I feel like he’s still there, watching his favorite movies repeatedly with his eyes closed, but most of the time, it feels like something is stuck on my throat, choking me up and eventually making me cry because I know he’s no longer there and I really don’t know which one is worse – the reality of what happened or the ache for the things that will never happen anymore.

I have come across grief before, but this is a different kind. It didn’t come on as a full blow but small punches to my gut, like when you go to the grocery and pass by the candy aisle and see their favorite candy and it reminds you of them. Sometimes I feel like everything’s starting to be okay, but when the day is tough and my emotions are all over the place, that’s when his loss hits hard and I feel the enormity of his absence.

I used to think when someone close to you dies, you just grieve for a moment and then you carry on with your life. The truth is, there’s no window for when you are allowed to grieve and start living. Grief knows no boundaries; it shows up even when you’ve felt joy the entire day. It knocks when you’re not expecting it. It creeps in when all entrances have been closed. It sucks. But grief doesn’t always mean pain. I think of my dad and sometimes I feel happy—sometimes I laugh about all the silly things he did and all the weird things he said. It doesn’t always bring tears, but it gives you the overwhelming feeling that you could cry for hours and smile afterwards and tell yourself you’re not crazy.

Grief teaches you things the same way love does. The world won’t pause because you lost a loved one, and so you carry on, you move forward, you learn to breathe again. The pain gradually subsides, not because you don’t feel the intensity anymore but because it clung to you and you’re forced to wear it every day. John Green said pain demands to be felt. It is true, it demands to be felt so that in time we’ll learn how to deflect it and it won’t be as painful as when we first experienced it.

I still miss my dad; I don’t think I’ll stop missing or thinking of him. But I’ve come to terms with the pain and have started to embrace hope, because it’s true what they say: grief stays, but so does love.