And so it seems that every trip through grief does come to an end. It doesn’t mean we forget , or that the pain of loss will not visit us. It does not mean that in an unguarded moment a memory will not sneak in and grip our hearts as tight as the day this journey began.
For each of us the end looks different I imagine. For me it means acceptance of what is. And letting go of what will never be again.
I have tucked away my memories and closed up my heart and I’m ready to let go of that which I held so tightly to. Like a dandelion puff that you blow on and watch as the seeds float gently away with the wind.
I did not even realize I was almost through it. I came up the hill and around a bend and all of a sudden there was the door back to my life.
In the beginning you think you will never get here and wish you had a map to show you if there really is an end or if you will be on this long path forever. As time wears on you realize there has to be an end because it is impossible to sustain any kind of life carrying around so much hurt.
I didn’t even want to make this journey. I didn’t think I was entitled. After all, no one died. Death joined me later but I would not have foreseen that then. I felt that I was being silly to hurt so much until I came to understand that grief is for loss. That grief is for change. That grief is what you feel when you need to feel it.
I realized that when I heard things like;
- You are better off without him, he was an asshole and not worth your tears.
- You couldn’t afford those puppies anyways
- You should be happy, he is doing really well with his Dad.. and things are calmer here.
- It’s not your loss
It didn’t mean that I was being ridiculous. Just because the people who said these things were unable to feel my pain, or understand why I really cared, did not mean I should not feel pain. Feel what you feel. And no one should be able to take that away.
For the first time in my life I have let myself feel everything I feel. For someone like me, with a disorder of my emotions, that can be pretty scary. That may be the reason it seems this last year I have lost so much. Not that I haven’t, but I think I must have carried baggage from before with me. Also because the enormity of what I feel goes both ways and then it seems to be a longer fall. I haven’t avoided or tried to numb my feelings and although there are times where I really didnt’ t think I would get through it, here, it seems, I am.
I thought I was here once before. A couple of months back I woke up one morning, kind of like today, and thought, “Oh wow I feel better.” It lasted a little while but the underlying feeling, the ache in the pit of my stomach the feeling like I could cry at a moments notice was still there. And soon afterwards I fell back to the path of muddling through.
I suppose you wonder then how I can be sure that this is really the other side. If I thought I was here before, how can I know i am here now? I just do. Looking back on the past few days I have revisited every part of the journey. I have felt everything I felt, been through all the stages but rapidly instead of lingering. In and out and on to the next. Last night I was angrier than I have been in my life. Not the head spinning out of control anger of being mad but a controlled burn. I wanted to lash out. I wanted to cry. I did cry. I raged at the unfairness of life and the actions of others. I felt it all.
My burden has lightened and my baggage has lessened day by day and I have felt things I haven’t felt in a long time. It was scary at first but I realize it was me. Me like I used to be. Before. And when I opened my eyes this morning, I didn’t have to fight with my brain to accept the reality of my life as it is now. I just accepted it.
It is calm and peaceful and I can breathe. And somewhere I seem to have become aware, that to get back on the main path of my life is not betrayal to the things I have lost. I don’t have to leave their memory by the wayside. I don’t have to forget to move on.
There is a reason I could not see the door up the hill around the bend. It would have been a sprint to the finish, the last steps a blur and every step is important. The last step as meaningful as the first. By not seeing the door back to my life looming in front of me, I was not tricked into thinking there is an actual end. I came through the door with the knowledge that I will always carry with me the pain of my loss but by being able to tuck it away in my heart and close it up I am ok to be back where I belong. And I have changed and that is ok too.
And so it seems that every trip through grief does come to an end. Of sorts. I know that I will probably be back there at another time in my life, I know that loss is part of living. I know that I will be ok. And accept that what was, will never be again.
And life does go on….