Grief is a Symptom of the Heart

Things felt REALLY hard last week/ the week before… As the Thanksgiving arrived my strength felt as if it was shrinking. I consciously focused on all that I had to be grateful for, but it seemed to offer only fleeting happiness… I couldn’t shake or escape the inevitable emotional storm that was seemingly determined to land… It’s a tedious and oftentimes slippery slope; trying to reconcile what was with what is. I started feeling completely unbalanced. It was taking every ounce of energy I had to get out of bed and appropriately care for my beautiful baby, and (ridiculously good looking), dog. The dishes were piling up in the sink. The laundry was being thrown in mountain high heaps in the basement; both clean and dirty. It’s surreal how difficult ordinary things become when you are struggling with depression…

I forced myself outside for a long walk with Molly last Sunday, but as we returned home an epic meltdown began; one started by her and continued by me… I put her back to sleep in her room for a nap, and headed to mine. It was then I realized that I had slept for two nights on my bed without sheets; even though they were clean (in the dryer). This felt profound. What 35 year old mother and woman sleeps on a bare mattress when she has clean sheets in the basement!?

A woman whose emotional exhaustion has hijacked her physical being. A woman who has endured and continues to experience debilitating heartache. A woman who pulls herself out of bed in the morning, cares for her child, and walks her dog. A woman who smiles and plays with her daughter most evenings, while simultaneously suffering inside. A woman whose pain isn’t just her own, but also that which she fears her little girl will someday bare.

*A woman whose daughter has clean sheets.

This woman is me, but she is also you. She is you in your most broken, fragile, and defeated moments… She is the you that reminisces about previous Thanksgivings, Christmas trees, and family traditions that no longer exist… She is the you that continues to haunt yourself with what could have, or “should have” been…

Often times when we are struggling and suffering we tend to think that the emotional pain and turmoil will forever linger. The moments and days begin to feel like a journey through quicksand; it seems the more we struggle to let go the faster we are being swallowed whole… but the truth is we are so much more resilient than we even know. (Feel free to flip me off now; I would).

Honestly, I don’t think grief is something that we overcome. As much as we wish time away, believing we will have conquered our pain by then; it’s not the reality. Emotional pain and turmoil lingers… Like a disease, it will flare and subside, only to flare and subside again. Grief is a symptom of the heart; and the “disease” is our condition of being human. Therefore, what I’m noticing and suggesting is that we can and better learn to live with our grief, in different and feelingly more successful ways. Or else… Or else sleeping on our bed without sheets will be the least of our issues…

Lately I’ve been working to make peace with the fact that like an annoying companion; grief will be accompanying me on my life’s journey. Sometimes loudly by my side and other times quietly trailing behind me… I’ve been continuing to investigate how we can best coexist through trial and error. I know that this companion has the potential to be either my fiercest enemy or my greatest teacher; I get to choose. Sometimes it just depends on the day.

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