Going through grief is like singing karaoke in a bar.
I know, you’re probably thinking this is ridiculous. Admittedly, I had this idea after a few vodka tonics, but I want to play this out.
Saturday night our elementary school hosted an adult only trivia night. Afterwards, a large group of parents decided to go to a local establishment for karaoke. While I’m not super close with any of the parents who were going, I’m not one to walk away from a good time.
After watching for a while, I eventually sign up to sing the 1993 classic, “Shoop” by Salt-N-Pepa.
As I make my way up to the microphone I must decide, am I going to freeze up or feel the song and own it. I settle upon the latter.
In grief, we often have to own it and let ourselves just feel. We must make a conscious decision to roll with the lyrics of our life. Sometimes a song is soul crushing and takes us back to a time and place in our before story. Maybe you like a song that lets some of the rage out, or a silly ditty that makes you smile. Whatever the song in your heart is, you need to feel it.
Now that I’ve decided to leave all my Shoop-ness on the table, I just hope I remember all the words. Inevitably I flub some of the lines, but I keep going and jump back into the song as soon as I can. I have different tools to find my way back to the right lyrics, there is the teleprompter, my gut and if the crowd is kind, they will sing along to help you find your bearings. I’ve sung “Shoop” a time or two in the 29 years since it was released so it’s easier to find my way.
Widowhood and the grief that accompanies it, is a like singing a song you’ve never heard before. There are books and tools for you to read that can help. I follow my instincts a lot, just doing what feels right and hoping I’m doing it in the best way for my children and myself. Lastly, I have an amazing crowd that will lift me up. My Camp Widow squad who are singing the same songs with me. My friends and family who may not understand exactly what I’m going through but do them best to show up and learn along the way.
At the end of the song, I walk off stage to cheers from the crowd and high fives from my fellow school parents. I stood in front of a crowd of people, put myself out there and did the best I could with the tools at my disposal.
We don’t get to walk off the stage of widowhood but there are wins as we conquer some of the songs of grief. Over time, we learn how to cope through the anniversaries, birthdays, and milestones. We start to learn how to navigate the stage and melodies of our grief.
So, the next time you find yourself in front of a microphone on a Saturday night, I hope you crush it.