It’s familiar. The heaviness in my legs and chest. My trudge up the stairs instead of my usual scurry. The dullness of my energy as I carry on in a meeting. Grief is back.
My sweet winter romance ended before I saw my first daffodil bloom. Gone overnight is the one who could not wait to see me, gifted me poetry on a paper plate, and wrapped me in a sweet cherishing on the dance floor.
Neither of us young, we met on a Monday as I sat at the counter eating lunch alone. When he walked in wearing his cowboy hat, I instantly recognized his handsome face. He had approached me at a party three years prior when I was a grieving widow who accepted his card but not his invitation. This time I took both.
We were oddly perfect together. I’m an extrovert. He’s an introvert. I often talk in long paragraphs. He’s good with simple sentences. I like city life. He likes wide open spaces. I like my convertible. He likes his pickup truck. We both liked each other a lot.
Grief and I have travelled together many times. When my younger brother died at 35, people understood my grief. When my parents died, they sent cards and flowers. When my husband died, the outpouring of support was monumental. Each ending was marked with a ceremony and the support of many.
Moving forward requires we leave something behind. A job, a status, a home, a relationship, a dream. Sometimes we say “Good riddance! Got that behind me!” But whether we shout “Woohoo” or we weep, going onward means grief is coming with us.
When my losses were less than the end of a life, I sometimes dismissed the need to honor them. The divorce preceded by years of counseling in a desperate attempt to avoid its arrival. The judgeship I pursued but never got. The hope that my father and I would have that conversation we never did. This time, though others say, “It wasn’t that long. You knew from the beginning it wasn’t going to work out,” I don’t deny my ache.
To travel onward, whether out of necessity or choice, grief may take the seat next to us. She may slow us down a bit, but we cannot ignore her. She must be attended to. She asks:
Acknowledge me. How others assess the size of your loss is irrelevant. Own it.
Rest more. Don’t push. Don’t rush. Grieving is work.
Do a little something for someone else. Perspective reminds us we are not alone.
Get to know me. Do something each day to honor the past and grieve the loss. A small act of clearing. Revisiting a memory or a place. Journaling. A talk with a friend. A good cry.
Remember me. Grief will be with us throughout life. When it’s time for her to join you., she’s a necessary companion.
Is there a loss that you are called to grieve?
Are you ignoring your grief of allowing yourself to experience it?
Are you allowing yourself compassion as you honor your loss?