(High School Insider)

Opinion

Column: Grief makes us human

We cannot be afraid of grief when it comes around.
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/yaileenramos/" target="_self">Yaileen Ramos</a>

Yaileen Ramos

February 28, 2022
Benjamin Franklin said there were only two things certain in life: death and taxes.

While currently living in the COVID-19 era, the idea of grief is still new. Whenever I feel insanely clueless and out of touch with my emotions I turn on my TV and play “Inside Out,” Pixar’s hit movie released in 2015 that follows Riley and her emotions as they pursue the ups and downs of life. 

As “Inside Out” encourages us to embrace our entire selves, to give ourselves permission to not be “okay” and to allow others the space they need to go through their own emotional awakenings. It’s not about avoiding unpleasant sensations, rather it’s about facing them head-on in order to be honest with ourselves and progress.

The pursuit of harmony within our emotions creates ongoing chaos in our lives. There is a reason why we have emotions. To feel all things life offers us happiness, sadness, anger and many other emotions in between.

In high school, you experience so many things straight out of a movie, like those cheesy cute stuff that happens in those late 90s romantic comedies.

We encounter the high school love that we think will last forever until it doesn’t. It seems like we are forced to grieve someone that is still alive and it makes our hearts hurt. You are left to grieve as you would death and we don’t tend to give ourselves permission to feel deeply, to cry, be angry and to carry on with our lives. 

At some point in your life, you experience death. It’s so complex. There’s not a perfect way or a universal translation on how to handle grief.  I don’t think you know pain until you sit and beg someone to heal your heart. I have convinced myself that all of the pain that comes with grief is all for some big reason. That in the long run, it will be worth it.

A part of me believes every word of that. As for the other part, it does for selfish reasons. Perhaps it’s easier to smile through the thousands of emotions that grief brings. Grief is love with nowhere to go. It was something unfinished that was forced to finish. Like a book with half of its pages torn out. There was so much more to live with you. 

Throughout the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, your mind is so consumed with the words you wished you said. Somewhere along the line, you lose the little voice in your head that keeps you from the last stage of acceptance. 

Years after my first experience with grief, I learned that hating life is the laziest thing you can do because relearning how to find happiness and joy takes time. Every night I would look up to the moon and relate to it. It goes through the different stages and at the end we witness a full moon.

For so long I thought I was undeserving of the beautiful things in life because I felt like a shadow in my own life, my own process of grief. I became a shadow the day your presence left my life because you were always the sun. The secret to letting yourself deserve happiness is to know that shadows change. Everything gets so amazing because life continues and shadows become sunbeams.

No one knows what you feel inside, so listen to yourself very carefully. One day it gets better, not really an explanation or reason behind it. It simply does.

I like to think that it gets easier because now you are the shadow that follows me. To imagine that you still listen and watch over me. To pretend that you are still a part of my life.

Column: How I secured an internship at UCLA

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