Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Back Door of Grief

When you find yourself sitting in a funeral home making arrangements, you really have no idea what is coming.  It seems like things could not get any worse.  

Most people that have dealt with grief have heard it all.  They are in a better place.  At least they are no longer suffering.  Heaven Rejoices.  Time heals.  Everything happens for a reason. While there is some amount of truth to all those statements, they still really suck.  And I mean that from the bottom of my heart.

We have also heard the psychologists tell us what to expect.  Shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and after which you magically move on to acceptance. It seems the world expects people to move through those in pretty short order.  In other words, pull it together. It's been long enough. Time to move on.

After living with grief for almost a year, I learned a little secret.  Grief has a back door.  All those feelings and stages and sayings are what happens when you are dealing with the obvious event of your grief.

I was not expecting a draft to sneak up behind me from the back door.  The back door is the reality of a world without your loved one.  Your world will never be the same.

It makes life different: birthdays, holidays, weddings and kids activities feel empty now.   Mundane things like phone calls or letters all of a sudden seem very important.

It seems to be a constant balancing act between trying to move on and not wanting to leave your loved one behind.  Is it possible to not live in the past but still honor a memory?

Your go-to people that you have relied on most heavily in life have now also been thrown into a weird world of grief and pain.  It can get complicated for a bunch of wounded people to try to console each other.

Everyone grieves differently. Everyone grieves at their own pace.  No one moves through the stages of grief at the same time.  Some might seem to move on too fast.  Others seem to be stuck in the past.  Some might not seem to care at all. 

Grief changes people.  It changes situations.  It changes life.  The reality of my circumstance now is almost as much of a shock as finding myself sitting in a funeral home. 

The fallout from grief can feel almost as devastating as what caused the grief in the first place.  Grief has a back door.  I guess I should have known. 

Grief can feel like so much is out of our control.  The back door is real but I don't have to let it knock me down. There is grace for even the reality of the back door.  Wounded people can comfort each other.  Grief can make you tender.  Life can be different without being unbearable.  Memories can bring joy. 

Grief and change can forge new depth in relationships.  I value family and relationships out of love, not out of duty.  It can spur the courage to make daring decisions.  Grief will scream a reminder about what is really important in life.

It's messy.  But the back door usually is.