When does the feeling sad part stop?
The past few days I have been reminded of grief. In many ways, shapes and forms. My own grief and the hole it has carved in my heart and of others grief. Today I wished collectively we did not experience grief, loss or sadness. That it wasn’t heart breaking and hard. Today I wished that grief would not sneak up on me in the cold of the night and steal my sleep, my sanity and my tears.
I watched a tui play in the trees outside our house the other day. I was on the edge, I was agitated, depressed, angry and hurting. Martha had no idea it was my birthday. Part of me thinks that is petty, it is just a birthday after all, but I missed getting a phone call at 7am from Dad saying Happy Birthday; I missed getting a card in the mail with money in it. I missed being able to talk about my day when I got another call that night asking how my birthday was. I was grieving for the loss of both my parents; one physical and one emotional. When I laid eyes on the tui I knew Dad was with me, watching, waiting guiding. In this moment I felt my grief the hardest. It was strong and powerful and all consuming, it reminded me of my beating heart and I once again felt loved. An odd thing to experience from grief but as my chest grew tight and my eyes pricked with tears, I knew that I had experienced true love. The moment passed and I continued on with my day.
Sadness. I was reminded of grief, loss and sadness when I received and replied to this text.. When does the feeling sad part stop?
This is true for me. Grief and sadness will never leave me. I will eternally grieve for the loss of my Father, simultaneously the loss of my Mother and when her soul leaves her body, I will grieve for the loss of her body. What I do know is that, it hasn’t gotten easier. But it is less obtrusive. I no longer want to break down every time I see a bald indian man with glasses and a moustache I no longer want to scream when I see Mothers and Daughters conversing and engaging and I no longer have the urge to cry in public. I know that the grief is still there, the sadness, the loss, but it is now just a reminder. I try to use this grief to draw on the positives, to remind me my heart still beats, that I have love and that I have memories. It wasn’t always like this. When the shock of death hit me and my family it was pure hurt and hatred. Anger at the world, at the injustice, at myself. My heart had shattered into tiny pieces and I could no longer function. As I grew into my grief it changed and twisted as I did; for that, I am grateful.
Which brings me to today; as I casually scrolled through Facebook I experienced bouts of grief. People I know are grieving. In their own ways, fresh grief, long standing grief, all the same it is grief. I was reminded of my first Christmas, only last year, without Dad. How hard it was just to get through the day. How isolated I felt and how deeply alone I was standing in a room of about 20 people. My heart aches for anyone who has to experience this, this Christmas. The constant thoughts that don’t leave, “oh if they were here we would be doing this, oh I could get them this, oh this is their favorite thing to eat..” The sheer rawness of feeling so alone was physically painful. As I start to think about this Christmas, it isn’t so hard. I am working towards new memories, just for me, for my life with an essence of Dad sprinkled through them.
However what I will say on grief and what I know for me is…
The grief, the sadness – it never goes away. It just becomes less intrusive on your mind, your heart and your soul. It becomes manageable and just a reminder. It stops defining you and then when you are ready you step forward, you do. At first small steps, then big steps, then running. Then the grief is just there with you, it is no longer the driving force of who you are, but the gentle reminder of everything you have been fortunate enough to experience. Grief is love lost and love gained.