Late in evening, early in the morning, in the middle of the night; it strikes without warning. Like a sucker punch to the stomach, it hits you; leaving you doubled over, and gasping for your breath… Like cement blocks tied to your arms and legs, It weighs you down, determined to keep you in bed. It robs you of your appetite, sleep, and joy. Sometimes it arrives shouting, screaming, clawing, gripping you with all its might. Other times it taunts you; whispering in your ear, telling you that you can’t endure or beat it, that you won’t survive… Grief.
It doesn’t give a shit what size your jeans are, how many degrees you hold, if you’re a parent, if you need to keep your job, or what kind of life responsibilities you may have… It doesn’t discriminate depending on your age, skin, or hair color. It relentlessly knocks on the door to your soul demanding to be heard, to be let in, it consumes your attention. It pins you down as you lie in the fetal position, on your tiled bathroom floor; forcing you to vomit, when it’s potent nature becomes too toxic. Sometimes it rages like when the sea is hijacked by a storm, other times it quietly laps the sandy shore of your days, as you diligently work to distract yourself. It threatens to stay forever. The fight feels futile; on occasion you find yourself inviting it in, feeding it, even letting it lay beside you, for hours or days at a time. You watch as it works to devour you one bite at a time.
It hurts like hell but you know you have to feel it, you need to acknowledge it; at least in doses. For the only thing more dangerous than feeding it too much is ignoring it all together, because then it wins; and it’s prize is more of your precious time… The harder you resist the agony of it all, the longer it will linger. It’s here to teach you something about yourself, and it won’t leave, until you understand exactly what that is…
So you’re faced with two options; to give up or to keep going. To stay in bed or get in the shower. To sedate yourself or to feel your feelings. To be angry that this is your life, or to find gratitude for your new beginning. To suffocate or to breathe. Each seemingly small decision representing one step back or two steps forward; along your path home.
And naturally you find yourself remembering when you were last in a situation that resembles this one. You recall less and less of the details, as it’s been years; but you can almost taste the heartache, as if it were yesterday… You can’t help but feel defeated when you think about how long that process of healing seems to have taken. The cyclical way that the grief back then seemed to swallow you, then briefly leave you, and of course how it would fiercely return. You wonder if this time it will be the same. If it will take as long and if the journey will be as equally gruesome.
You wonder, but deep down you already know… You know what happened the last time you bravely sat up straight, and looked your grief and yourself in the eyes. You didn’t just survive the storm you became the storm. You felt weak but you were so much stronger and braver than you gave yourself credit for. You used your shitty circumstances as the fertilizer for your growth; and girl did you grow! You got a masters degree, you became a yoga instructor, you traveled to Haiti. You learned to love yourself, others, and the world more deeply.
The events that have led you back to this place of grief feel more tragic in many ways, and they seem to impact far more people; in more critical ways than the last time you visited. But, listen here…Your tools are different too. You have lost and found your breath a million times since that day you first felt swallowed by heartache. You have fallen and you have risen. You truly lived and as a result you have learned. You know what works best for you and when. You know when to sit with your sadness and when to walk forward. You are the expert in you. In reflecting you feel that you handled your grief back then like a child, but that’s because it was the only way you knew how. You are wiser now and better prepared to move forward; with the grace of a woman. You are a warrior.
There is beauty to be found in this place, even amongst the pain. Notice the clarity heartache brings to your perspective of all that surrounds you. Operate from that place and you can’t go wrong… This major plot twist serves as a time to live, love, and most importantly grow. A time to return to yourself and the truth. For all things there are seasons. All you have to do is surrender this moment, over and over again. Remember your track record for survival. Rest assure that you will find peace again; and when you do it will be a peace like you have never known. It will be the time to once again put into practice all that you have learned… Sail with the winds of these changes, and you will see; your destination is far more remarkable than you can imagine.