When my husband and I first got married, I remember reading a book called, “Men Are Like Waffles, and Women Are Like Spaghetti.” Funny title, isn’t it? But one I’ve never forgotten. While the grief journey continues to ebb and flow, recently, Melanie has been strongly on my heart. I came across some photos of her that I hadn’t seen in a long time, and it hit me all over again – she really is gone and isn’t coming back. It’s then that I realized – I’ve been compartmentalizing my grief.
I am very introspective and am constantly looking within. While I’m so grateful God continues to heal my broken heart, there are times when if I look deep within, the heaviness and brokenness of grief is still there. Churning away … like slow-burning embers after a horrific fire. While the flames have been put out, significant damage has been done because the loss and destruction remain underneath. Does this sound familiar to you?
For some reason, this got me thinking about this book. The premise is that men deal with one issue at a time, typically going from one waffle square to another. While women and their thoughts interchange, multi-task, and jump from one thing to another with ease, in the same way, spaghetti is wound around and through one another.
While we absolutely need to do the grief work and all it takes to heal, I also don’t necessarily think compartmentalizing is a bad thing. At specific points on this journey, perhaps it’s more like self-preservation. When we are forced to survive a horrific event, we often develop coping strategies. I used to be the Queen of Multi-tasking, but maybe being a waffle right now has benefits over being a spaghetti.
It may seem disenchanting to realize that these feelings continue to crop up even years later, but in reality, it just makes us human. Grief is never a one-and-done.
We should be proud of how far we’ve come! Look at the road behind you and notice all the terrain you’ve covered. All the large boulders and potholes encountered in the early days, when you could barely climb out or around them. Then, look at where you are today.
If you find you’re compartmentalizing your grief, it’s OK. Whether you’re a waffle or a spaghetti, no matter where you are on this journey, give yourself credit for every step it took to get here. It’s all progress … one step, one moment, one breath at a time.