Those who haven’t experienced the depth of grief tend to look upon the pain of a broken person with this idea that this pain and these feelings are temporary, and that eventually this loss will become a past event that we will move on from. It would be nice if loss and grief could be wrapped up in such a neat little package, to put away and be taken out only when the need to revisit it arises. It would be nice if grief happened in those five foreseeable stages, one at a time. It would be nice if the pain of grief ended.
But then again, no it wouldn’t.
Grief is complex, it’s difficult, it’s painful, it doesn’t make sense. It changes you and everything around you. When you lose the one you have spent your life with, you lose the life that you once had and the person you once were. And what you are left with is cold and unfamiliar. You feel the stabbing of loss with every breath you take. Even breathing feels different now. The world can go from something so normal and uneventful and happy… to gone. Just like that. And suddenly what you are left with is not your life… And yet it is all you’ve got. It is easy to look into your own pain and want to stop feeling it – until you realize that this is love. Grief is a path, not a place. Grief exists because love exists. Without love, this wouldn’t hurt. Without love, this would be easy. I wouldn’t trade a single day with my husband to avoid this pain. Not one. When I lost my husband it was sudden, I never saw it coming. I sent him out to pick up pizza, not knowing that it would be the last time I would ever kiss him goodbye. I am grateful that the last words I ever heard from him, and the last words I ever spoke to him, were “I love you.” That love is the reason all of this hurts so much, it is the reason that my world collapsed and my heart shattered. And it is the reason I will be OK.
Healing is not about getting over it, moving on, or leaving our loved ones behind. Healing is about finding peace with what has happened, what you have lost, and what you are left with. You will never get over the ones you love, I will never get over my husband. I will never stop loving him and I will never stop being his wife. But this doesn’t mean my life will stop or that it will revolve around my husband or this loss forever. This doesn’t mean I will not live a full life, maybe even love again. I am 30 years old, my daughter is two. I intend to live, I intend to love. One day. For now, I am still learning to live this new life. He will never be left behind because he is a part of who I am now. I will never stop thinking about him. I will never stop loving him. I am his and he is mine, always and forever. But things are different now. So I carry him in my broken heart, it is healing to keep him there. A part of me went with him when he died, but a part of him stayed with me and it fills the broken pieces of my heart with light and hope and love.
Your grief will last as long as your love. You will not stop grieving simply because some period of time has passed. You will grieve forever. But you will not hurt like this forever. You will not stay broken and shattered. Life will not always be this overwhelming. And it is ok that it hurts this bad now. It is ok to feel so broken and overwhelmed. This is what happens when your life catches fire and burns to the ground right in front of you. It hurts and it is overwhelming. But you will slowly rebuild. It won’t look like it used to look because that old life burned down. He died. She died. It is not OK but it is what happened. And as you rebuild your life you will realize that they are still a part of you, and always will be. You will learn to be happy again. And the one you love will never really be gone.