Grief is weird.
I was feeling constantly overwhelmed and heart-broken, so I dropped to 0% – in work, in socialness, pretty much in life. But that was too far, so I went up to 150%. Which was, unsurprisingly, too far in the opposite direction. Heh.
I had to tweak and adjust and feel out what was good. I had to talk about this process for hours to anyone who would listen (thank you!).
Then I hit 50% and felt balanced. For a while. Then I felt really bored. Restless. Impatient. I took that as a sign to add a bit more.
Now I feel like I’m at 75% – 85%. I oscillate between feeling good about it, feeling overloaded, and feeling restless. I feel like there are moments – sometimes days, sometimes hours, and sometimes just a few minutes – where I need to stop everything and just be sad. And there are moments when I’m really, really angry, and I need to stop everything and just be angry.
I call it Grief Lightning. I get struck, and my entire day is blown to bits. And that’s okay – I make space for the grief to come, however it needs to come.
And now, there are moments when I’m happy. More and more, the happy moments are pulling out in front. I’m starting to have good days again – and even a fantastic day now and then.
So now I’m in the danger zone – that place where I start to feel “fine” and feel “done” and start feeling over it and desperately wanting to be over it. That place where impatience creeps in when Grief Lightning strikes. That place where I feel like I don’t need any more help or healing, because I’m doing just fine now, thank you very much.
But I’m also more self-aware now than I’ve ever been. I know myself well enough to know that’s my pattern. I know I’m in the danger zone. I know to talk about it so others will know about it, too – and can help me be more gentle, and remind me to not give up on healing or grieving.
There’s a dangerous line in any healing – the line where we feel better but aren’t yet. It’s the reason casts stay on broken bones for six weeks even though bones heal in four – depending, of course, on the bone in question. If you break a thigh bone, it can take months to heal. A finger’s good to go in three weeks. And so too, do different kinds of trauma take different times to process and grieve.
No matter the time it takes, no matter the process, grieving is normal. However you grieve, you’re grieving just perfectly for you – as long as you make space for it. Don’t bottle it up, don’t ignore it.
Live in it. Know that it won’t last forever, that the pain and the sorrow and the hurt are part of what it means to be alive, to be human. Breathe into those feelings, embrace them, and, eventually, you will find peace.
I know I’m finding peace, a little more each day. Even though I thought my heart was broken forever, it’s still beating. Sometimes the pain is still too much to bear, but more and more, I’m finding that I’m stronger and more able to bear it.
I imagine grief as an ocean, at first swirling and filling every available space inside my heart. Drowning me.
Every time I cry, no matter what I cry about, I leak a little of the ocean. Eventually, it’ll be mostly gone.
I think one of my tears, every time I cry, will be for what I’ve lost. My heart has changed from the loss I’ve suffered.
But it’s changed for the better.