I'm not looking for a cure.
I have spent every day of the past 947 days since my husband's suicide looking for a cure to my grief.
I have spent hours researching grief, spirituality, different religions, and beyond.
I have talked about my grief over and over and over.
I have read hundreds of books, essays, and blogs.
And after that is my grief all healed?
After all of that is my grief gone?
No. My grief still exists. It's apart of who I am now. It's settled into my bones and while in the first weeks I would have paid someone to remove it from me forever........I am no longer looking for a cure, for a fix, for it's removal.
I'm letting it be.
I'm nuturing it with love.
I'm not pushing it away, wishing it away, or pretending it away.
I have healed a lot over the past 2 1/2 years. Time doesn't heal all wounds completely but time has healed me in many ways. I no longer cry all day long. I no longer scream in my basement. I no longer have panic attacks when I drive past a cemetary. I no longer think he might come home. I have healed my guilt.....forgivin him and forgivin me. I have come to acceptance. I have healed enough that I can move forward. I can laugh at my friends jokes. I look forward to things with excitement and I love life again. I have re-entered life and I no longer want to be under the ground where his bones are.......I want to be up here on the grass walking towards my future. Time has healed parts of me but of course the wound will remain in many ways...forever and I'm ok with that. I have grown more as a human being in the past 947 days then I did the entire rest of my adult life.
Why do I tell you this? Well, I write for me first. I write because I don't fully know what I think about an idea until I have written it out. The words flow straight from my heart to my fingers laying on my keyboard and then and only then do I come to full knowing of what I feel about something. I write second for all of you. And? I want to be real, raw, and authentic. That has been my goal of my writing since the very beginning. I don't sugar coat. I don't pretend to be someone I am not. I don't fake that I am "all better" so that you will follow me on this journey. I show you the awful and the vulnerable along with the good and the joy.
So my grief? I'm not looking for a cure.
When it returns I know that the love is still there. I don't want to erase 12 years of my life from my memory so that I never feel the pains of sadness. My sadness has made me able to feel joy on a level I never got to before. My sadness connected me directly to my spirituality and God. My sadness has made me more compassionate, loving, and connected to others. My sadness has brought out the poet that has always existed in my heart. My sadness has helped me to guide others in theirs.
I am looking for people, places, and things that can help me to carry this heavy load that the universe has given me.
What does this look like?
It looks like only keeping a small and loving circle of people around me. People that really know me. People who I really trust. People who I can tell my stories to and they don't flinch. People that are drawn to my light but are also in love with my darkness. I am both.....we are all both.....dark and light. One can't survive without the other.
It looks like nature. Buckets and buckets of time in nature. Wild places where I can put my feet in a creek, sit on rocks and let my mind wander, and cry under the comfort of a beautiful pine tree. Nature has been a Mother to me. She is where I have ran to with my troubles and she never judges me. I have told her my deepest secrets and hurts and she is calm. She does not push to fix me or tell me endless lists of things that might change me and make me all better. I don't wish to be changed. I like who I am right now even with all of these shards of glass in my heart.....even with all of this trauma in my veins. I like me and I don't need to be cured. I need to be loved.
I surround myself with books that spark my own stories and music that seems as if I must have written it in my darkest hours.
It looks like knowing when I need to talk to a grief counselor or do a session of QNRT therapy or talk to a close friend or write my way to my true emotions. Writing has healed parts of my pain that I didn't even realize existed. It's given a voice to my suffering. It's allowed me to let out of my heart what is painful so that I can with each word, with each keystroke.........move forward, move forward, let go, let go, let go.
All of these things are helping me to carry this load.
You might not agree. This might not be your personal experience with carrying the grief from the death of a loved one. And I understand because I have talked with thousands of people from all around the world about their grief and all of the stories of living with loss are different. But for me.......for this Minnesota woman.......I am not only carrying grief. I am carrying trauma. My husband left me here on this wild earth by putting a bullet to his kind and gentle heart. That has done something to me that cannot be reversed. That has done something to me that no therapy can completely remove. Trauma and deep abandonment emotions cannot be spiritualy bypassed. It's a lifelong process to sort through these emotions. It takes time, self-love, and constant learning. Yes, things I have done like grief yoga, QNRT therapy, and talking with a Grief Counselor has helped to remove my shame, guilt, fear, and helped to ease the feelings that I get when I am triggered by this trauma but nothing can remove it from my memory. It forever exists there as a day out of a horror movie. No one can take that away or make it all better. It's just there and it crosses my mind frequently but I'm no longer trying to forget. I'm finding the ways to bear the remembering. The great outdoors has helped me beyond words with the remembering. It is there that the universe or God whispers to me, "Keep going. You are loved. You are safe." It is in the deep woods that I can hear my late husband talking to me. I can clearly see our wonderful memories and they aren't clouded by the noise of others.
Grief. I am not looking for a cure.
I am looking for friendships that warm my heart.
I am looking for adventures with my children that bring my soul joy.
I am content with my simple life and the happiness that it brings me.
I am looking for laughter.......real, deep, tears running down your face laughter. Laughter can soothe things like no other.
I am nurturing my self-love so that I can handle the hard days. I will live with this grief and this trauma until my final days on earth and it might never be resolved or fully healed and I have come to acceptance of that. It truly takes a lifetime to understand why something had to happen to you and maybe we only come to full knowing and peace when we too are on the other side of the fog.
I am looking for truth. Plain. Simple. Beautiful.....Truth. The other night my seven-year old daughter sobbed herself to sleep missing her Dad. That hasn't happened in months. She sobbed and asked once again, "Why did he leave me? Am I not lovable? Why, Mama? I can't believe he left me when I was only four-years old." There is nothing I could say to her to stop her tears. Why? Because if I told her that, "It's ok." or "It's going to get better." or "Your Dad is always with you." or "You'll feel better about this when you're all grown up." .........If I told my beautiful girl these things? It wouldn't be the truth. I don't know for sure that it will be ok. I don't know that this will be the final time she sobs herself to sleep..........I'm guessing that this deep hurt is something she will feel for the rest of her life and it will never be completely cured because the only thing that would cure it would be her Dad coming back to life and telling her the real truth of why and how he left her on this earth without his love and daily protection. What do I know? I know that I can tell her that she is safe and she is loved and she is brave. I can assure her that her Mama isn't ever, ever going anywhere and that she can carry this load that her Dad placed on her shoulders. She can do it because she has a connection to nature in her heart, and a loving family, and wonderful friends, and she has grit and beautiful grace. How wonderful it is when people tell us the truth......when they trust us and love us enough to know that we are worthy of truth. It's like the book "The Bridge to Terabithia" that my daughter and I have read together. "We are devastated, emotionally rent. But still: we feel held, loved, seen. Someone trusted us enough to tell us the truth; and because of that, the room is golden, brimful of light.” ― Katherine Paterson, Bridge to Terabithia. So for my girl? I only tell her what is the truth. When she is sobbing and her little heart is hurting.......I only whisper in her ear things that I can know for sure......I only hug her extra, love her extra, and tell her of new and sunny days to come out in her favorite secret forest.
Grief. I'm not looking for a cure.
I'm looking for life.
I'm looking for a simple and ordinary life where I can find happiness, joy, and maybe even love. Simple things that breathe the extraordinary.
I don't need to be fixed or glued together or cured.
I just need to be understood.
I need to be loved.
She always understands.
You don't have to endlessly search for a cure for your grief, for your broken heart.
You can step outside. Let the spring rain hit your face. Watch the birds fly free through the sky and know that your heart is able to feel despair and joy at the same time. And this is something that every single living thing comes to learn at some point in their life and then they learn how to keep going after they have learned this.
Step outside and find the things that are going to help you to carry this load and to hopefully carry it with a little bit of courage and a whole lot of grace.