There is simply no way to side step grief. There are not any short cuts through the pain. With experience, I’ve found the way through this mess is to embrace it. You must walk straight toward the emptiness. Stop there. Be. Make yourself be still in this place of solitude. Let the enormity of the vast void fill you – if and when you can. You have to own this space. Make it your own. This is sacred stuff. The emptiness is awful and terrible and painful; but it is so much more than that. There is a holiness about this space where grief lives.
Grief is potent. I have found that it is best practice to absorb grief little by little. Work tediously toward incorporating it into who you are. Do not fight it – you won’t win. Instead, allow it to become part of your being. Befriend your grief.
Over time, you must redefine who you are; and, more importantly, you must decide who you wish to become. Becoming is not easy. In fact, it is a huge job and an enormous undertaking. But, it is necessary. Some people avoid this work because it seems too daunting. However, I have witnessed that you can not out run grief. If you want to recreate a genuinely beautiful life you must do the work.
For me, my “grief work” is not so much about escaping grief (I know that is not possible); but, rather, it is about intentionally striving to reenter life. I am a Lover of Life. Each week I write to you, I am not writing about grief per sae. Nope. I am writing to you about LIFE. As a writer, I am encouraging you to live your best life. And, sure I know that it is easier said than done, but for me it is not optional because the alternative is far too bleak.
For three years, I steeped myself in my own grief. I became one with my grief; and, now, with nearly four years practice as Mike’s widow, I do not carry my grief in my arms anymore. My grief does not completely over take me any longer. My grief is still there, but it is not visible now. And, I assure you that this is big progress. I worked hard to get to this place.
The evolution of my grief has allowed me to consider life again.
My own life.
Not the life I yearn for, but the one I can live.
As I wrote in a recent blog, my grief has become a “Grief of my Own”. I am focussed on me now, not Mike. This might sound harsh, but it is not intended to be. I miss Mike, but that practice doesn’t get me anywhere. So, instead, now, I am focussing on me. I am the one who is still alive. So, I am doing just that. I am living. And, I am slowly letting a little love and light back into my life.
When your arms are free you are able to gather up small moments of joy and tenderly hold them in your hands. When your arms are open, you become open to possibilities. You are no longer maneuvering through life holding the shards of your broken heart in your hands. When you open your arms to life, you open yourself up to the limitless possibilities before you.
Finally, I am standing here with “open arms” and it feels so good. Today as I write this, I do not long for the past as much as I yearn for the future. I stand here at the cusp of my future. I am ready to step into my potential. It is time for me to live my life in a fulsome way once again.