I felt the need to write, even though I wasn’t sure the shape or form it would take. But as soon as I started typing, I knew it was about loss (maybe that’s why I put it off for a bit). Loss isn't the merriest of subjects this time of year, but yet it defines so much of the holidays for people who are experiencing it. I find myself crying at odd times, a heaviness surrounding my heart like a clenched fist. The waves of grief can be gentle and silent or stormy and loud. Sometimes an emptiness follows that feels like a reprieve from the weight of my grief, but slowly it resurfaces to let me know it is still there.
I don’t think of grief as a negative thing (maybe when it hits on the way to work when I have 2 preschool winter programs to lead and keep thinking about the red puffy eyes I’ll have). But what I’ve come to realize is that it will be with me for the rest of my life. When I acknowledge that truth instead of the sweet words that tell me I will work through it in time, I feel a sense of peace with my grief. I know with time the pain might not be as sharp and the ache so persistent, I’ve already realized that dealing with the death of my brother 15 years ago and the death of my father 9 years ago, but their grief still lives inside me. Not only has it shaped the person I am, I have molded the grief within, fitting it snugly inside-a piece near my heart and one in my mind. Maybe that’s the journey of grief.
Now I’ve made space for more grief as I try to make peace (Makepeace!) with my good friend and her family’s passing. The tragedy of it makes this grief feel impossibly big. Some days it spills over and out of me and I wonder if there is enough room inside me to hold it. Sharing my grief with others who hold the same pain, helps. The chain of texts and tears between my girlfriends recently, definitely helped us make it to the other side of Thanksgiving. Now as Christmas nears, the waves come quicker and the weight feels just a little bit heavier. It is comforting to know loving arms are close and patient listeners are nearby, but ultimately I find grief to be a solo journey. A journey that challenges us to grow and takes a long time (no quick trip here). Really there is no end. Just an understanding that a new life is being created, a new way of being where they are not physically here. I like to think in some way my grief is my friend, it helps me hold this pain so it won’t break me apart. Sometimes it shakes my shoulders and demands attention but other times it makes me remember and closes the gap between me and those I’ve lost. But I won’t sugar coat it....it hurts like hell at times.
I just want to say that I hold all of Jen and Jeff’s family in my heart! You are not alone.