Grief becomes a part of us. That is not something we necessarily want to hear, that this painful, aching and emotional experience won’t just disappear forever. I intentionally mulled over this bit of information (more recently after hearing Frank Ostaseski speak about it), wondering about how that is. And then I went through two losses back to back and let this realization work through me.
Last month we lost two members of our family within 3 weeks of each other. I was still recovering when we had to pull things together and muster through another decision of a peaceful death for a beloved friend. We had another private funeral and buried our Lil Fella beneath our family heirloom Hibiscus plants. And then we had to pick up and function like every day.
I often recommend, that when possible, we try to allow ourselves time and space to take in the emotions and changes within our bodies after loss. If you are able to plan the gentle death of a beloved animal, make it as supportive of a time for you as possible. The truth is, we don’t always get to do that. Even when we do, we don’t always know what to do with ourselves after.
And that is, of course, when we face the messy work of grief.
How do we grieve? What is the process that each of us experiences, what is right and how long do we have to feel this way? It may sound strange, but there are times more so now when I find my grief to be good and even restorative. There is no doubt it is cumulative for me and I suspect for most everyone. Don’t get me wrong, it is hard and painful but ultimately I am reminded of the place it comes from.
Taking breaks from our grief can be healthy and I find that for me personally, it helps me cope with the sheer depth of the sadness. I spend some time in the shadows of tears, longing, pleading, and aching. But I come up for air. Sometimes that is easier than other times.
After Lil Fella passed, I was raw and numb and couldn’t really talk about it. In fact, I think our family respected and honored us by not pushing us to talk about it. There weren’t words for me to express that our family changed so dramatically in 3 weeks and that I wasn’t able to control that and had to suffer the losses.
Somehow, I think the pain we endure through loss is a way for our bodies to heal. I imagine microscopic parts of my heart and inner soul basking in something warm and a light growing from within. As the losses of those I have loved culminate together, the newest pain radiating from its predecessors, there is a bit of growth.
And that grief becomes a part of me. That love that helped shape me in life forever seals itself within and I carry it with me. This is me- full of love and loss…
Dedicated to Lil Fella and Cedric…. And always my mother.