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A Perspective of Grief

As+with+so+many+aspects+of+life%2C+grief+is+not+just+black+and+white.+It+is+myriad+shades+of+gray%2C+and+its+intensity+varies+with+the+degree+of+loss+an+individual+may+feel.+Despite+its+intensity+the+sentiment+remains+pure+as+a+rose.+
Elena Murrieta
As with so many aspects of life, grief is not just black and white. It is myriad shades of gray, and its intensity varies with the degree of loss an individual may feel. Despite its intensity the sentiment remains pure as a rose.

There are many definitions for grief, it can be how you feel with the loss of something with emotional significance. This can be the loss of a toy, a friendship, a breakup, or the death of a loved one. 

My family and I just lost my cousin in a motorcycle accident that happened not even a month ago and are still grieving over his unexpected death. Initially, there was shock and disbelief, because he was going to be coming to my concert in a few days and we were getting ready to see him during the upcoming holidays. 

As my mother told me the news after school one day, memories of him started to flood back into my mind, and tears rolled down my cheeks at the thought of him. He was about forty years older than me, yet was still young to me. He came to family dinners at my aunt’s house, making my sister and I laugh with his stories, and talking about getting ready for my senior year of high school and showing him pictures of me at prom with my best friend.

After some time, when the news of his death evolved from a surreal dream to a cold fact, the impact kicked in. My stomach felt as if it had dropped. I was never going to see him again.

I have grieved other losses in the past, but the healing process is never the same. When the day of his service arrived, I knew I wanted to give my final goodbye my way. 

Video Link To Service Performance Here

My cousin Alexis Christianson (left), my aunt Annette Garcia (middle), my sister E’mme Murrieta (middle), and me Elena Murrieta (right) singing “Carry The Light ” by Andy Beck together at my cousins funeral service. (Melissa Murrieta) 
My aunt Annette Garcia (left), me Elena Murrieta (middle), my sister E’mme Murrieta (middle), and my grandma Anna Leon (right) at my cousin’s celebration of life service. (Melissa Murrieta)

My aunt, grandma, cousin, sister, and I all sang for his funeral service, and our voices delivered the message we wanted. Music has always been there for me and it can cause so many different emotions, whether it’s sadness, happiness, anger, or annoyance. Although singing that day was an emotional experience, I was comforted knowing he always loved music, making a hard goodbye a little easier. 

Most people are familiar or have heard of the stages of grief and how it goes with the healing process. For example, they can range from anger, denial, depression, bargaining, and acceptance. Everyone grieves differently: some people cry, some get angry, some make jokes, some use distractions, some go numb, and so much more. 

There is never a right or wrong way to grieve because it hits everyone differently in their life and can affect some people more than others. 

A representation of how there is no right way to deal with grief. (Aerith Hamper)

When things start to get overwhelming and the stress of life starts to take over, that is when I try to take a minute for myself. These are a few examples of what I like to do and what makes me feel better:

I do face masks and other things as part of my skincare routine.

I eat some of my favorite snacks and drink hot tea. 

I talk with my family, friends, and pets when I need to vent. 

I take mental health days. 

I blast music and dance around my room.

I spend quality time with my boyfriend. 

I am human and in no way perfect, but it’s the little things that make me feel better and can make a huge improvement in not only my mental health, but also my physical health. Self care routines are especially important as the winter holidays approach.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, seasonal affective disorder or seasonal depression usually starts around late fall but can also happen during the summer. When there is a change in seasons, this can affect how a person feels and this is why some experience “SAD” or seasonal depression. Some examples of these signs are guilt, difficulty remembering, suicidal thoughts, hopelessness, anxiety, or social withdrawal.

Whether the holidays are around the corner, or it’s a regular Thursday, there are helplines that are available for aide. Some sources of assistance include:

The Crisis Text Hotline: Text  HOME to 741741 to connect with a volunteer crisis counselor.

National Suicide Prevention Line: 1-800-273-8255

SAMHSA’s National Helpline: 800-662-4347

Partnership to End Addiction: 855-378-4373

Mental Health Helplines

Though there can be sadness and pain in life, there is one message I hope to leave with you. You are never alone. Looking back on life, we get nostalgic, but we need to remember that nostalgia is only the pain of our old wounds. Nothing is promised, but with happiness there is sadness and with grief there is joy. 

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About the Contributors
Elena Murrieta, Editor in Chief
Elena Murrieta, senior Vocal major at Las Vegas Academy of the Arts, is passionate about music and learning new things. Through her work, they hope to build a foundation for their future career.
Aerith Hamper is a sophomore Media Arts and Communications major. She has passions in theater style costuming, writing of all kinds, and drawing comics.
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