During a recent conversation, my daughter told me that many of my recent postings were too dark and depressing, and she asked me lovingly to “knock it off”. It bothers her to know I am so sad. Initially, I thought she was right. Perhaps I needed to balance out the darkness with more light.
Then I remembered that when I began this blog (way back in the beginning when I started it, and again when I began posting regularly after my husband passed away), one of the promises I made to myself was that my writings would always be genuine. Whatever I wrote about was meant to be what I was feeling at that time, regardless of whether it made much sense to anyone but me.
It occurred to me in this instance that, although in theory I understand what my daughter is saying – and I do believe there is already too much negativity in the world so it makes sense to balance that out with positivity – in order to stay true to the purpose of this blog, I’ve got to stay authentic to the feelings of grief. (Sorry, Lady A. I love you and don’t want to make you more sad than you are, but these feelings are real and it won’t do any good to pretend otherwise.)
Grief is an ugly business. There is no rhyme nor reason to any of the feelings I may be having at any given moment. I can just as easily cry over missing my husband as I can in remembering the good times or because I can’t find an empty gas pump (yes, that really happened). Just when I think I may have turned a corner because I haven’t cried in “awhile”, I’ll suddenly be swept away with sorrow and wind up sobbing over nothing.
The thing about grief is that it just shows up, like an unwanted visitor who insists on coming inside for a cup of coffee or an extended weekend. It doesn’t tell you how long it will stay for this visit, and won’t tell you when it will be back for the next one. Sometimes it comes with a small gift, a token remembrance that makes you smile. The next time, it comes with piles of smelly laundry and insists you wash every piece separately by hand, ensuring that you’ll be overwhelmed with the chore.
There are days I wander around feeling hollow, an empty space where my heart should be. Other days, my heart is a heavy leaden ball in my chest, making it difficult to breathe or even move. Then there are those rare days that show up when I need them the most, filling my heart with the light of fond memories and the love we shared, or the kindness of a friend or stranger. Those are the moments that keep me going.
So while I truly want to balance out the heaviness that has become my constant companion with lightness and joy, it isn’t always possible and I’m learning that I can’t force it. Much like depression, grief isn’t something to “get over”. I can’t just suck it up and move forward, as much as I wish I could.
The only thing I can do is to keep trying. Every day take my steps, no matter how small, no matter which direction they may take me, and keep taking steps until one day I realize that the light happens more often than the dark, and grief hasn’t been for an overnight stay in awhile.
I’m not naive enough to believe that one day, my life will go back to “normal”. Even when – if – I ever actually make it to those days (and I believe I will… most of the time), I’ll be changed forever. Whether that change makes me a better person or a bitter one is all up to me.
© 2016 Many Faces of Cheri G All Rights Reserved