I was asked the other day if I get tired of talking about grief. If I’d rather put down my grief and go do something fun. These are really good questions.
There was a time that I wanted all of my feelings of grief to go away. I didn’t want to remember that my daughter was dead. I didn’t want to remember the feelings that were unresolved when my mother or father died. I wanted the feelings to go away so I could get on with my life. But how could I really get on with my life when I had so many painful issues, old stories, and constructs that lived in my body as both pain and restriction that kept me immobilized both emotionally and at a deeper physical level? We think that if we muscle through or soldier on all of our unresolved pain will step aside and let the real us through.
I found out that it is called unresolved for a reason. By finding a way through my difficult feelings, I found out that some of my pain and body and eating issues were connected to my grief. Because I said yes to excavating the life I was meant to live, I discovered my true self, what I call my Nanciness. It meant being scrupulously devoted to following the bread crumbs of my grief journey, what I call today my grief spiral, no matter where it lead me, no matter where it continues to lead me.
Just what does a grief journey look like almost 17 years in? I no longer feel like I’m actively grieving my daughter’s death. Her death affects me daily, for sure, but now there is a different texture to my days. Yes, there are still days that I feel sad, that I feel the pain of losing her in the car accident, remember those days in the hospital, especially as the milestone days of the anniversary of her death begin to get close. Today I use the resources available to me which brings me to a new level of understanding, or integrates a certain feeling in a new way.
Grief is a Doorway.
Grief opened a door to the greatest transformation of my life, and it can for you too. When I was completely broken open and on my knees in my darkest hour, I didn’t realize that my loss provided the perfect condition for new growth; open fertile ground to nurture the seeds of my soul’s purpose. I didn’t see it at first because I was holding on to what I lost, hoping against hope that I could stay the same and that I wouldn’t have to change.
Grief Changed Me.
If I had resisted that change I would have been trying to hold on to a life that was no longer the same as the day before her death. The fabric of my life no longer held the same threads, and if I tried to hang on to my former life it would have fallen apart anyway because the old stories would keep wrapping around a structure that was no longer there, it is an illusion that had no substance, no form.
Today I know that I would not have the capacity to have fun if I had not followed those breadcrumbs almost 17 years ago. Having fun, being connected to my creativity and to the things that make life meaningful for me are the gifts and blessing of my grief spiral. So no, I don’t want to put down my grief so I can have fun. I want to walk my life’s path so I can be connected to what is important for me these days: to my ability to make meaningful connections, and have meaningful conversations, to listen to my body’s wisdom and feed her and move her in a way that truly nourishes her, to share my life with a life partner who has experienced the same loss, to be able to meet each other where we are and still have fun together, to appreciate my sense of humor, to find pleasure in the simple things like bringing in a bunch of zinnias for my office, and gratitude, always gratitude, for everything and everyone who has brought me to this day in my life.
What are some of the things that make your life worth living these days?