This is grief


Feeling tired all the time. Eating more for comfort. Nothing holding much interest. Bouts of generalized anxiety and that feeling that “something is missing.” What’s missing is normalcy. The way life was. A desire to return to a time in which we simply didn’t feel this way. This is what grief is, and it’s what many of us, I’m suspect, are experiencing right now due to the coronavirus.

When Izzy first passed, I had constant urges to run out the front door and just keep running. No destination in mind, just Anywhere That Wasn’t This. Of course, there is no such place. You take it all with you, no matter where you go. I feel it now too–I want to be somewhere else, where the sun is shining instead of constant grey rain and bad news. There is no somewhere else. There is only right now.

Isabel had a pre-existing heart condition so I find myself in the peculiar position of being glad she’s not here so that I need not fear what coronavirus could do to her, and yet already living with that same reality anyway. I’d be afraid she would die…but she already has. The mind is constantly seeking out ways to mitigate the worst fears while at the same time conjuring up worst case scenarios at every available minute.

Grief does this too. It does a lot things and has a lot to say. It’s a long, slow process, filled with millions of thoughts and analysis and coping mechanisms. It’s not static. It doesn’t have neat, linear phases that you jump from one to the next, like stepping stones over a creek. It’s a rickety-ass bridge over a turbulent, frothing river, and the only truth you have is that you have to keep going. The planks will hold your weight only so long as you don’t stay put.

Life will return to a brand of “normal” but it might not look like what we had before. It shouldn’t. We’ll have learned (I hope) and grown, and discovered a new appreciation for what we have and the love we have for those in our life. That’s one of the side-effects of grief and its most beautiful. After the worst of the pain and fear and agony washes over, it can leave behind a new appreciation for little things in its wake. It can spur one to take action to help fix wrongs that seem more stark and important now. It can ignite a greater sense of compassion and humanity, a feeling that “we’re all in this together.” It can, as it did in me, generate an insatiable curiosity about life, death, and what lies beyond our thoughts and agreements. Because death is our commonality. A great equalizer. And a great motivator to stop taking the life we have (and those in it) for granted. It is a teacher, above all else.

This is grief, and we’re still down in it. We’re not done yet. But the only way out is through, one day at a time, one step across the bridge to that something beautiful on the other side. It’s there. Keep going. ❤

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