autumn days

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Good Grief

Grief.  Many on the outside of grief think it is something to be passed through to find the unburdended glow at the end of the tunnel.  For those of us in this grieving process, we know the emotional devastation with our loss shifts, though it does not disappear.  Our family's greatest loss was only five weeks ago.  Attending support groups, I have had the privilege of meeting families feeling fresh devastation eight years after a death.  Each child processes in their own way in their own time, shifting in their grief as their brain's mature.  One child lost her dad three years ago and still is terrified and overwhelmed by her feelings of loss.  This is normal.  This is our new normal, this lifetime processing of grief.

Our daughter is nine years old and doesn't want to talk about her dad, his dying, or her feelings.  Her good friend of the same age saw my partner after he died; he is processing this loss in the same way.  Our daughter listens as our six year old son and I open up about our feelings, our memories, our loss.  We hug, we cry, we model what grief can look like.  Our daughter is processing her emotions in her own way.  When she is ready, she will talk.  For now, she cries over seemingly-unrelated battles with her brother and watches us directly process our feelings.  Our son wears his emotions on his sleeve, as do I.  Our one year old daughter will spend much of her life processing in her own ways as well.

In my world right now, I vacillate between overwhelm at paperwork/schedules/housekeeping/emotions and wanting to run far away from home with my children to a warm, quiet beach.  This is when I pause, take a breath, and intentionally focus upon the overflowing of my heart.

I am so very thankful for the people in our lives.  I am so very thankful for our home, our cats, our routines, our ability to turn anything into a special occasion, the grace of forgiveness and compassion within the family, the comforts and traditions of this life we've built together.  And so much more.  I am so thankful for the relationships I get to have with my children, everyone in my partner's family, the friends we have gathered and now consider family.  I appreciate the details and vastness of everything in nature.  I appreciate getting to feel so many emotions flowing through me, letting them move through, and feel a great lightening of my load afterward.  I appreciate the feelings of laughter in my belly and tears on my cheeks.  My love for my people keeps me going.  There is such beauty and grace within relationship.  Now that's good grief, Charlie Brown.

I know I will continue processing the death of my partner for the rest of my life, as will our children.  I also know we will feel supported in our relationships with those we love.  (When we do not feel supported, we work to resolve those challenges.)  What a gift to feel such buoyancy in these challenging times.  Regardless of all the tasks I want to get to, especially with my whirlwind of emotions, I know what is most important.  It's all about heart.  We get to keep coming back to the heart.

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou

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