If you are like me, the thought of renovating a house brings excitement.

Renovations mean newness, new paint colors, new furniture, and perhaps new room configurations. Have you ever considered that in order to renovate, we first have to deconstruct the space? Demolition and deconstruction are messy. It is during this time that we may wonder why we wanted to renovate, yet the walls are down, the floor is torn up, and we may have paint samples all over the remaining walls to determine which color looks best in the new space.

Demolition is messy; deconstruction brings chaos.

Maybe I like these metaphors because of my time working as a project manager for a contracting company. From the beginning of my grief journey, I always viewed what was happening as a deconstruction. Grief is messy.

My life was ripped apart.

In the early days, I really didn’t want to put it back together, and I didn’t know how to take the first step even if I did want to reconstruct a life worth living.

Over the course of my grief journey, my life was deconstructed many times as I excavated the wreckage that Leah’s death created. I tried to figure out where to start putting the pieces back together, yet I had no idea where or how to start. Each time I thought I found a way through the maze that I was in, I came upon another obstacle. A closed door, or a tangle of feelings that felt too overgrown to unravel.

I used to think of them as false starts, until I realized one day that each and every turn on the labyrinth serves a purpose. Each and every deconstruction exposed a place in my life that needed attention and love.

It felt exhausting at times, because I thought that loving myself in the messy, chaotic places meant that I would have to admit that there was something wrong with me; that I was flawed beyond repair.

In truth, it was, it is, love that heals me.

Loving myself as I am in all the messy imperfection showed me the way through the confusion, through the disarray. What I know now is that I was loving my way back to myself; healing old childhood wounds, even ancestral wounds; all the places that needed to be seen and loved because I am deserving of love.

Love is like the sword that cuts through all of the detritus of my life.

It is love that renews our life. I find this to be a revolutionary thought because all through this journey I’ve heard versions of loving being the way through, and it wasn’t until I was able to experience it directly that I was able to take it in, to know the power of love.

The renovations I have done on living spaces, when viewed from completion, have all been worth it. We are more comfortable in our space, it is lighter, and we can move around with more ease.

I can say the same thing about my life having gone through many deconstructions of grief. In all cases, the experiences were different than I thought they would be; they took a lot longer to see progress; and the outcome is/was completely different than I could have ever dreamed possible.

Having successfully moved through both experiences, I can say with certainty, they have all been worth it, every single time.