To Grieve by Living

In contemplation, Life, Uncategorized
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Last month I lost someone I loved. I cried some and stayed in bed a little bit extra, but mostly I just kept doing all of the things that needed to be done. I wondered a few times what it meant to grieve by living, whether I was doing it wrong, whether I was broken because I wasn’t immobile. I understand that grief is unpredictable and looks different for everyone. I do. I know those are the words I would share with a friend if they asked me if they were doing it wrong. I would tell them there is no wrong. Most days I believe it, but there are moments that I don’t understand how I can be drinking iced tea, or taking a shower while she’s just gone.

It wasn’t really a choice, to grieve this way. I don’t think you actually get to choose that.

It brings me peace to know that she lived well. That she lived completely and that she loved me as deeply as I loved her. While we shared this earth, I tried to live by her example. Right now, inside of this mourning, though, living by her example is taking a different kind of energy. So I’m looking harder for beautiful things. For the things to feel grateful for. Some days, finding them—these beautiful things—feels almost impossible, but then I hear my son laugh. Or the sun warms the back of my neck. I watch the fireflies after dark and the watching reminds me of summer evenings on the porch as a child. The memory washing over me with gladness. None of it removes the grief, and I’m almost sure that’s the point. The living and the grieving are the same.

peony after the rain
dinner outside

5 Comments

  1. I understand some of what you are going through — I lost my mom last November. You’re so right — each person grieves in their own way. I can go along fine and then my phone rings and I think — Oh, that’ll be mom. And then I remember that she’s gone. Your images are a lovely tribute. xo

  2. I lost my Dad month. Your words are very similar to what I’ve been thinking about, I lost my Mom in 2008 and the grief feels different this time but also the same. I’m fine one moment, then get teary eyed five minutes later. My condolences on your loss and while I know the grief never goes away, I hope you deal with it however feels best for you.

  3. Oh, exactly. Talking to someone who said it took them four years to be remotely okay after losing a parent, I found myself wondering if I were broken for not being broken by grief two years in. But I am not; we are not. I think the key point, what is common in grief, is that we are all changed in some way.

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