Here I sit on my late husbands birthday. He would have been 36 today. He is forever 34. There are no more birthdays where his soul is now. Souls are ageless, timeless, and free.
There are so many things I never knew about grief until the day my heart was ripped out, stomped on, and set on fire.
I didn't know that it was possible to feel wretched grief, and have a day that your heart feels like it's going to burst with joy and love watching your child run free and play with their friends. The pain brings the joy. The pain has taught me how to feel the joy, how to notice the joy, how to be grateful for the joy.
I didn't know that grief would be so painful. Painful beyond words. Pain that made me hide in my basement to literally scream. Pain that made me cry and wail until I threw up. Pain that made my head pound, my heart ache, and my soul not really want to reside here on earth anymore.
There is joy and pain inside of grief.
Grief at first will put you into complete shock. You will think you are doing "ok". You will be feeling numb and then one day the true pain will creep in. What did I learn to do? Let it in. Allow it in. Let it ooze through my every cell in my body. Get quiet. And listen. What does it have to say? What does it have to teach me? "The cure for pain is inside the pain." Oh how true that is. Push away the pain and it only grows larger, deeper, stronger. Let it flow through you to let yourself heal.
After awhile your grief may become silent like mine. People think you're over it. You're 100% helped and back to your "old self", but that isn't the way this grief thing, this life thing works. You're never fully over it. You're never fully healed. You will go forward. You will find hope. You will find new life and find your joy again. And then a song will play on the radio that will make the cells in your body want to wail and scream. You will smell his cologne on someone else's husband and you will want to run 10 miles home in the rain. Yes, I am healing. Yes, I am able to help guide others in their grief and help them find their way to their own personal healing. But also yes, somewhere deep, deep in the darkness inside of my heart........it still hurts like hell. It still burns....just a little. And those embers I don't think will ever be put out. The way that he died is why. The no goodbye. The leaving me behind with our two small children and no idea of what or how I was going to go on with my life......it hurts. It's deep. It's a knife to the heart and I have to be totally honest and say that it isn't all the way scarred over. I'm not ashamed of that anymore. I don't feel the need to hide my pain and lie and say that it never hurts because seriously? One day he just walked out of the house, locked the door, and shot himself in the heart without saying goodbye, without leaving our kids a letter, without telling us why. And that hurt is painful and it will always be there.
But the joy? It took all of this pain to teach me what real joy feels like. I feel grateful about a sunny day. I feel overjoyed when a dark cloud day of depression passes and I laugh with my friends. The joy is overwhelming. It's what has kept me going all these days, weeks, months. It has shown me that life is still worth living. It has all taught me that life isn't meant to be happy every day. It's both. It's joy and pain. It's takes one to know the other.
So if you're new to this grief thing.......there is no rule book. There are no real steps to take to healing or a specific path to follow. Follow your heart. Listen to your intuition. Allow yourself to feel the pain. Scream it. Yell it. Stand on a hill or lay on your basement floor at 1:00am and say to the universe "This shit sucks!" Let it in. Let it out. Let it wash over you. Let the rain of pain cleanse your soul.
And then? Let yourself laugh. Let the joy in. Slowly you will find who you are now inside of your grief. Slowly time won't heal all your wounds, but it will show you that your life still matters and you deserve to feel sunshine on your shoulders. It's up and down. It's back and forth. It's in and out. It's here and there. It's light and dark. It's joy and pain.......it's life. I hope you live yours because you deserve it after all of that pain.