I come from a long line of determined and resilient women.
One thing that both my Mom and Grandma have instilled in me, is that even little losses must be grieved.
When you move to a new city, more than likely you are feeling some sense of loss, even if its just the loss of knowing how to get places.
When the opportunity you were looking forward to didn’t pan out.
When you have a miscarriage.
When the adoption falls through.
When the marriage crumbles.
Loss isn’t limited to bad stuff, though. Change is what creates loss. Even good changes come with some element of grieving. When I graduated college, I grieved the sense of normal I had before. When I got married, (confession time) I had to address the loss of no longer living with my best friend and the heartache of being the one responsible for dinner.
I’ve had many people in difficult situations recently come to me and say that they just can’t imagine what I’m going through and that they feel guilty for complaining about their current struggle. When will we learn not to compare ourselves to each other? Yes, my broken bones feel different than your bee sting and that feels different than their bruises. But heck, even hang nails need attention! Aren’t we all part of the same body? When one hurts, we all ache a little. That’s what I’m finding in my little community of friends. We all are part of the balm, the ointment that we all need. So if you’re carrying an ache, be brave, let someone into the sorrow.
In a society that values machine like performance and efficient fixes, it takes bravery to allow yourself to ACTUALLY feel the emotions of loss and grief. Let’s face it, moving through loss feels far from efficient. It’s unpredictable and inconvenient two things which also assault our American values. Yeah, we like to be able to chart outcomes. Is it weird if I tell you that I try to mentally keep track of how often I cry? It’s as if I’m trying to sketch out progress. It been a whole week! I want to see if I’m getting better but I also want to predict exactly when the next big breakdown will happen. HA! It would be so nice to squash this whole pain and brokenness thing into some kind of scientific method. Give me the seven steps to navigating loss in 10 minutes so I can just get on with my life! Well, honey. This is your life, and the only way to get on with it, is to allow yourself to feel everything that comes with the reality before you. And for heaven’s sake, bring someone else into the process.
This is a little poem I’m dedicating to the people on my short list. You know who you are.
I’ve come to know tears as liquid healing, that’s why I’ve stopped apologizing for them. They come when they see fit and they don’t leave until the work is done.
Let them do what they came for. They can’t hurt you. In fact, they bring life. You can look the other way, but they will find you.
I’m choosing to be found.
When they come marching in with force, do not try to absorb the tears into your strong bones. Their work is a violent mercy. Embrace the envelopment of grief. Surrender to its purpose.
Pour your tears out onto her chest, as a sacrifice of courage.
She will accept your offering into her clothes, absorbing it into her chest, allowing them to seep through the cracks into her soul, where she carries them as a badge of honor.
So if when the wash comes to claim me, you are the one to hold the broken pieces, consider yourself part of the healing. In my healing, you too are put back together.