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.