The Gifts of Grief

ImageMy hope is that someone experiencing love and loss will read this and feel comforted and less alone.

It has been almost 6 months since my mom died and though I’m better,  I am still sometimes oppressively racked with grief.  It doesn’t render me incapable of experiencing joy as it did those weeks following my loss, but it has fundamentally changed how I live my life.

Horrible:  I felt guilty for not being who I was before the loss – my normal adventurous, glass-half-full self.  I loathed bringing anybody down and acting happy felt suffocatingly disingenuous.  So rather than choosing to work out with friends, go out to lunch, or attend get-togethers, I ran to the lake alone, skipped out on parties, and got into my pajamas embarrassingly early. When grief took over, the want-tos were a struggle.  And the have-tos?  They were damn near impossible.  (The truth is, all of these things still sometimes happen.)

Also horrible: I am frustrated because I feel that my grief is not commensurate with my loss.  This is how I would have imagined feeling had I lost a child.  After all, shouldn’t I have been more prepared for this?  She had been sick for a long time and even if that weren’t a factor, losing a parent is the natural order of things, isn’t it?  So when grief settles in, I sit in my self-imposed, emotional solitary confinement, knowing the sadness can’t possibly make sense to others.  It barely makes sense to me.

But here’s what’s not horrible:  Grief has been a great sieve, sifting out the tiny grains of unimportance and retaining in its mesh what is real.  This analogy came to me years ago when I was dealing with a different loss, but the feelings that propelled it quickly vanished and I was back to life as usual.  This time, I don’t know how long it will be before I am “back to life as usual”.  And maybe that’s not a bad thing.

And here, the gift:  Those who have reached into my dark microcosm and shared laughter and tears or offered a powerfully simple “thinking of you” have taught me one of life’s greatest lessons – that real love steps forward, not back.  And I will forever carry that with me.

A favorite song by a favorite artist, perfectly encapsulating right now.  Click to listen:  In Repair

3 thoughts on “The Gifts of Grief

  1. “Everyone grieves differently.” We have all heard that comment many times, but, unfortunately, until we experience it firsthand, we can’t completely understand the truth in that message. You write about it beautifully, but I so hope you are able to let go of that guilt and frustration. You are surrounded by so many people that love you and will be there for you whenever you need it!

  2. After my dad died, I underwent the same sifting process. I also became more aware of how little time we have and that it is important to do what we WANT to do and to say no to the things we don’t want to do. I hope you are coming out of your self-imposed cocoon more and more frequently~~ it really is beautiful out here! Love you!

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