Life

This Artist Captured Exactly How Grief Feels, And We Can Relate

Does your grief process look anything like this?

Grief is mostly unavoidable over the course of a life, and everyone handles it in a different way. However, there are certain universal feelings associated with it, too, and one woman has illustrated the grief process perfectly.

That woman is artist Mari Andrew. After her father died, she looked for an outlet to help her grieve. Naturally, her talent for drawing—and conveying emotions through it—came into play. We can definitely relate to the images she came up with, and you probably will, too. Check out some of the images below.

Here’s a to-the-point illustration about how the meanings of things shift after a loss:

Here, Andrew addresses memories, and what happens to them after the person you shared them with passes:

A post shared by Mari Andrew (@bymariandrew) on

And while moving on is essential, it’s much easier said than done:

The ambivalence of feeling better

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More than one person—especially our therapist—will stress the importance of self-care in the wake of a loss:

Though chances are, this is all we’ll be able to feel or think about:

Movement to replace the 5 Stages of Grief with this scientific chart in psychology textbooks

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And healing will be challenging, to say the least:

People will think we’re fine, but we’re usually far from fine:

I'm still recovering from Guillain-Barré syndrome, a very rude disease that paralyzed my hands and legs last month while I was working on a book in Spain. • Now I'm back home and walking (and drawing!!) again, so to the outside world I seem perfectly fine. But what the outside world doesn't know is how frustrating it is for me to do pretty much everything, and how steep the mental toll of physical recovery is turning out to be. • I normally use exercise as a stress relief, but my body has gone haywire so I can't run or do yoga or dance or even pick up my cat! (Is that exercise?) I can't enjoy a nice long walk, which is how I used to fuel my creativity. I'm normally a verbal processor, but it's so hard to explain what I'm going through to other people so I usually don't bother. • Then I feel even more lonely and frustrated, and I feel a strain on my treasured relationships. I try to keep a sense of humor during these tough seasons of life, but lately it feels more healing to just let myself be really sad. • I'm getting the mental and physical and spiritual help I need (plus reading @optionb and listening to a lot of @onbeing), but it helps me to be open about what I'm going through here as well. • Surely some of you can relate, at least to the feeling of isolation, and–I'll say it again and again–you're not alone. I know loneliness so well. I'm taking it day by day and, as always, I'm very grateful to you for being here through the process.

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But along the way, we may find some things to help us out:

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Finally, Andrew reminds us to focus on the positives…

A variation on a recent theme because I keep seeing this around me: the quick reaction "You're strong," "You're so inspiring" to the announcement of a personal bummer. • Going through misfortune doesn't automatically make you strong. Being in a wheelchair doesn't make you instantly inspiring. This kind of immediate reaction to bad luck is patronizing at best, and doesn't give room to feel disappointed, scared, or like a total mess. I know the intentions are so good, which is why I'm talking about the possible effect. • I like being told I'm strong for other reasons though! Like, being persistent in growing out a pixie cut. Sitting through a horror movie. "Putting myself out there." Dating an artist. You know, make me work for it.

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…and to have hope:

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We don’t know about you, but Andrew’s drawings were not only super relatable for us, but also made us feel better and less alone in our grief. For me in particular. I lost my grandma last year—she’d raised me and was my best friend—and it was the hardest thing I’d ever experienced. For me, writing about her, keeping her essence alive, going on nightly walks and mourning via a Coldplay concert in Chicago all helped me grieve. But I know everyone has their own grieving process. Still, Andrew’s drawings about grief could not be more spot on.

To check out more of Andrew’s Instagram drawings—poignant and comical and everything in between—on grief and other topics, you can do so here. I know we will.

[h/t: Huffington Post]