*Disclaimer- If I had even a little bit of computer knowledge I would have made these graphs on the computer, but I’m terrible at that kind of stuff, so I had to make them by hand. My photography skills are no better- so I apologize ahead of time. I’ll blame the poor quality of these pictures on the two half-naked (really cute) little people who were crowding around me the whole time I was working on this post.
This is what I thought grief would look like:
This is what grief really looks like:
I was shocked when, only weeks after losing Lucy, people started to ask me, “So, are you feeling better yet?” I never knew what to say. Some days were bearable, most were horrific. And even when I had a day or two where I felt almost ok, I knew the dark days of deep sadness would hit again, and they did. I was very frustrated the first few months because I had this idea in my mind that grief SHOULD look like this:
And most people want grief to look like that. They want you to heal quickly and cleanly. Unfortunately, grief is messy and it has its own timetable. I always think it’s kind of funny when people are frustrated that my grieving is taking so long. They seem almost mad at me because I’m still sad months later. Don’t they think that if I had ANY control over my grief, I would be done with it already? It is the worst pain I have ever felt and I don’t enjoy it. I am healing as fast as I can, but unfortunately, it can’t be hurried. Here I am, 14 months later, and I am just now starting to feel a little better. But every day I carry a weight of grief that goes unnoticed and unfelt by most of the people around me. I am getting used to the weight, but it has not left, and I don’t think it will until I’m in heaven.
This past winter has seemed colder than usual, and spring has been long in coming. The temperature from day to day has been wildly unpredictable. One day I have the heat on, the other day I have the air conditioner on. It is the perfect metaphor for my grief. I know that spring is coming, but it doesn’t come on the perfect timetable, every day growing a little warmer than the day before. It’s up and down and up and down and slowly, slowly, the ups get higher and the lows aren’t as low and one day, there are beautiful flowers blooming and the grass is turning green. My healing has been the same, except my spring is going to be YEARS in the making.
I think most people, including my old self before my tragedy, believe healing means you get better and better on a continuos trajectory upwards. So if you feel like this (red arrow) one day, they expect you to feel like this (green arrow) the next time they run into you.
But in reality you might feel like this the next time you run into them.
Do you know someone who has lost a loved one? They are still grieving. They are still feeling the loss. Be patient, be loving and remember that grief looks like this:
and it doesn’t look like this: