Right now I’m feeling energetic, hopeful and enthusiastic about being alive, and what’s to come. A few days ago was one of the most intensely emotional days I’ve had, ever. So many tears, such depth of sadness, to the point I couldn’t really use my left brain at all, couldn’t write, could just barely find my center… And while intense emotion doesn’t bother me in itself, I realize the fear that comes up is “what if it’s permanent?!” What if I’ll never be able to think clearly, get grounded, look at anything in my house without being reminded that Elizabeth is dead, and just keep crying all day…Thank goodness some part of me could see outside of this place just enough to remind me that nothing stays the same forever. Nothing. I believe whenever I’m in something that is uncomfortable, the real fear is that I don’t know how long it will last. The not knowing is the hardest part. That’s where faith comes in – trusting that this too shall pass, and even if it doesn’t, if I question my beliefs (i.e. is that true? can I absolutely know it’s true?), I realize I’m fine.
I’m learning that grief is so many things. It is sadness beyond imagining. It is crying so hard I feel like throwing up. It is rage so great I want to break glasses, plates, and big glass doors (haven’t done that yet!). It is memories so sweet and so sad at the same time – like on Thanksgiving, remembering Elizabeth sitting at the table with us last year, having just had her first chemo treatment, with her usual attitude – sweet, polite, gracious, and also a bit above us all, in her ladylike, queen Elizabeth stance. Remembering her making an entrance, so beautiful you’d never know she had cancer or was going through chemo. I’ve had Thanksgiving dinner with her every one of her 22 years, and this first one without her was hard. Grief can also be this comfort I feel today, trusting that all is ok. It can also be delight, warmth in my heart from small things, like a compliment or an invitation.
On the days when I wake with that depth of sadness, it feels like I might as well just embrace it and do some of the things I know would bring it on anyway. One day last week that meant attending to a few details like the simple act of finally cancelling Elizabeth’s Spotify account. It was heartbreaking – it also meant logging in to her Facebook account and then I was compelled to read her wall, and I felt her reading it, as though I was seeing the posts through her eyes along with my own, seeing all these diverse friends, parts of her life I wasn’t part of. At the same time, I couldn’t feel her presence around me as I usually can. Everything felt so close, so inside me, that I couldn’t get any perspective. Today I can see the same things, the photos, her clothes, and not be deluged with tears…so much is grace.
The tears, the sadness, the gratitude and the excitement – I never knew grief had such range.