Recently I was the guest speaker at an event and after it was over someone came up and asked me exactly that question: Are you over your grief yet? The question seemed to come from a pure place and seemed quite sincere, yet it momentarily took me by surprise.
It’s been a while since someone has asked me that question, but it took only a nano-second to reply.
As my dear friend, Shirley shared with me months ago, I believe grief is much like the Artofkintsugi. So, the most straightforward answer to this question is, “No, I’m not over my grief and don’t think I ever will be.”
Instead, I believe as time moves forward our broken pieces begin to be transformed into something new. God uses our brokenness to create something good and beautiful.
Truly, it’s unrealistic to expect others who have never walked this path to totally understand what we are going through. They simply don’t understand.
When we find ourselves in this position, what can we do? My best attempt is try to walk in grace and understanding, instead of anger and disappointment. Though, quite honestly, this was a learned behavior – not an automatic reaction!
When I first found myself trying to process the death of my daughter there were those who were very supportive and understanding. I will be forever grateful to those people. Yet, after what another deemed to be a “sufficient period of time” of grieving had passed, someone told me I needed to pick myself up by my bootstraps and carry on.
Unfortunately, those people don’t understand how the grief journey so clearly resembles the waves of the ocean. Up one day and down the next.
Today I view these as learning opportunities and take a few moments to explain.
I believe grief changes over time, but never totally disappears from ones life.
My grief journey isn’t as intense and overwhelming today as it was when Melanie first ran ahead to heaven. But it’s still there … simmering just below the surface like a geyser waiting to erupt at any moment. I never know when it may happen.
Some days it quiet and other days it bubbles up for no apparent reason. It could be something as simple as an old song that comes on the radio and reminds me of her. During those moments I let the tears flow. Simply put – this is grief, and I will not hide it.
Today, I try to focus on the good and the love we shared. I try to remember the funny times and sweet memories, keeping them in the forefront of my memory as opposed to the loss. I try to imagine what she might be doing in heaven and how I’ll get to see her again one day.
So, am I over my grief? Never. It’s become a part of who I am now, just like the color of my hair or the way I walk or talk. I’m grateful for the lighter, softer days of grief that have evolved from the broken, jagged pieces and look forward to a day when there will be no more sadness, no more tears.