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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Truth About Grief



"Some things in life cannot be fixed. 
They can only be carried."
~Megan Devine

There are days when I feel like we are on the uphill side of this.

Days when things feel "normal".

Days when I can see glimpses of our life before grief.

Then there are all the other days.

Days when I feel like for every five steps we take forward-we also somehow manage to take a hundred steps back.

Days when the only thing getting us out of bed in the morning is grace.

I'd be lying if I told you that my type A personality didn't want to plan this out.

To put grief in nice, organized little boxes.

To define how we are going to feel and when we are going to feel it.

I want to take each step of the grieving process and somehow rush us through.

Not because I don't care.

But, because there is nothing worse than watching someone you love go through something that you can't fix or take away.

Sometimes I feel like if we can just get through all the steps-sooner rather than later-then maybe we can salvage what's left of the old parts of ourselves.

The people we were before the grief completely broke and changed us.

Because that's the thing about grief-it changes you.

It takes the core of who you are, and carves you into something different.

Something you never thought existed within you.

And when I look in the mirror, I stare at this thing I've become.

I touch her skin.

I run my fingers along the stress acne on her chin, the deeper lines around her eyes, and the furrowed crease in her forehead.

I see the heaviness in her shoulders, and darkness in her eyes.

And when I look at her I realize the hard truth of it is this: there is no "going back".

There is only "before" and there is only "after".

No moment when we will wake up and things will be exactly the way they once were.

Grief has become a thread we have woven into our tapestry whether we like the color of it or not.

There is no "getting over" it.

There is no magical ten-step plan that will make it go away.

It has bound itself to us, and we have bound ourselves to it.

We must resign ourselves to accept it, and the fact that it will always be there-melded to our shadows.

A reminder of our "before" while we move forward into our "after".

These are the things they don't teach you in marriage counseling.

This conversation doesn't come up in the midst of managing your money and learning to fight fair.

And in many ways, no one can ever prepare you for grief and the toll it will take.

No one. 

So, we do the only thing we can do.

We hobble together our broken pieces, and hide our monsters in our least conspicuous places.

We wring our hands and we take deep breaths.

And we sojourn on.

Forward.

Always forward. 

Because the truth about grief is this: I know as little about it now as I did 12 months ago.

And the days when I think I understand it are the days when it throws me another curve ball.

And it's usually something I never saw coming.

So, we re-adjust.

We make more room.

We learn to live with a little more ache, and a touch more limp in our gait.

And all the while, we slowly, but surely make our way.

Forward.

Always forward. 

And the only thing that propels me-that keeps me putting one foot in front of the other-is this truth: that someday forward won't always seem so hard.

Maybe not tomorrow or the day after.

Maybe not six months from now.

But, I know someday forward won't be the most painful thing we do every single day.

And eventually our limp won't be quite so noticeable, and we will learn to love the people we've become.

People who have been refined by the fire.

People who went to battle with grief, and who came out on the other side stronger, wiser, and more compassionate for those who will someday walk a journey just like ours.

But, for now we will just focus on forward.

On one step.

One moment.

One day at a time.

And I will hold onto the good days, and wash my face after the bad ones.

I will cling to the promise that His mercies are new every single morning.

I will take more deep breaths and keep being faithful in this valley.

And I will fix my eyes on the horizon, because that's where I see it best.

Someday.

I know it's coming.

It just hasn't gotten here yet.

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