In my opinion, yes, the grief journey does get “easier.” But is it the grief that gets “easier” or do we just “get more used to it?”
I think there are multiple answers.
I think we change. I think we adapt. I think we learn how to live without our loved one(s). I think we get used to not seeing them. I think we get used to not talking to them. Sadly, the thought of seeing our loved one becomes more foreign than the thought of not seeing them. I think we adjust to our “new normal.”
When I first lost my twin in January 2011, I remember meeting people who told me they had lost their loved one(s) 5,10, even 30 years ago. I would think, “Wow, that is so long ago.” I’ll admit that I also remember thinking that it must be “better” for them than it was for me because they had been more removed (in days) from their loss than I was.
Fast forward, I see it more like they might’ve when they saw me in my “initial” days. When I see “new” grief, part of me is more sad for their 5+ year death anniversaries rather than the initial months post death.
“Initial” grief is debilitating. It’s exhausting. It’s excruciating. You don’t think much of others and are living within your own bubble. It’s filled with worry, regret, and fears.
I can’t say the same isn’t true with “established” grief because everyone is different, but for me, my days now are significantly different than were back in 2011 (enter: countless hours of hard work and determination). Like I said above, we learn how to adapt and live without our loved one. It becomes more normal than not for that person to not be at events, holidays, and in our every day lives.
So why did I say, “Part of me is more sad for their 5+ year death anniversaries rather than the initial months post death.”? There are a couple different answers for this one.
Mainly, because all that has been missed. We have lived through so much without our loved one. They have missed so much. We know that holidays are hard, but sometimes a Tuesday morning can be just as hard. I remember having anxiety with each year that was added to my twin’s death anniversary for many reasons, but one being that I was afraid with the more time that went by, the less people would think about her. As an 11+ year griever, I will say that it seems as though our grief is more “forgotten” as the time goes on. Not by us, but by others.
It’s viewed as “easy” now. But, it’s not easy. It’s easier. There’s a difference.