July 10, 2019

6 Minutes of Grief.

I have been grieving for 844 days.

Some of those days have been unimaginably painful. Uncontrollable tears, head buried in a pillow, cries that didn’t sound human.

Other days have been tolerable. Tiny bouts of anxiety, memories that turned sad tears to happy ones, a second to catch my breath.

And (lately), more days that are full of light and happiness and laughter. Days that make me hopeful for the future.

It has taken me 844 days to realize that this is grief.

Over the past two years, three months, and a few days, I have experienced the loss of four core family members, three extended family members, and one childhood friend.

I have tried to write some of their stories. I have tried to write about the details of their deaths and their lives. I have tried to write about how their passings have impacted my life. I have tried to write about how I’ve moved through grief, how I’ve learned to ride the waves, how I’ve processed my feelings, how I’ve come out on the other side…or hope to.

But it all still feels like too much. It never feels like the right time. And it never feels like there are enough words. Or at least enough right words.

And I think this, too, is grief.

A few days ago, 20-year-old actor Cameron Boyce—known for his role as Adam Sandler and Salma Hayek’s son in “Grown Ups,” and more recently for his role in the Disney Channel franchise, “Descendants”—died suddenly from an epileptic seizure.

I obviously didn’t know Cameron Boyce. But I’m well acquainted with grief, so when I saw on social media that one of his friends and former co-stars had posted a video addressing his death, I felt compelled to watch.

Actress Dove Cameron posted a series of short videos where she not only spoke about Boyce and what he contributed to her life and to the world at large, but also exposed the rawness of grief—the truths that hit us in the most difficult of ways.

Grief doesn’t always look or feel the way we think it will. 

Grief is intimate and weird and not easy to reconcile.

Grief is unpredictable and awkward. 

Grief needs to be expressed and acknowledged.

Grief will leave us broken open. 

Grief will leave us sick and foggy and crumbling into ourselves.

Grief will leave us with a pain that doesn’t go away.

Grief will leave us with memories that make us smile and cry simultaneously.

All of this—and none of this and so much more—is grief.

Because there can never be enough words to fully express what grief is to everyone. 

I am in awe of her vulnerability, how brave she is to take her grief and put it out there for the world to see, to connect to. I am in awe that she found even a portion of the right words, the ones that often elude us when we’re just trying to get through the day.

These videos brought me comfort—not because they will bring my loved ones back or because they ease the pain, but because they show that grief wears many faces. And just because we can’t find the right words (or actions or emotions) doesn’t mean we’re doing grief wrong.


Watch Dove Cameron’s video below:


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