The grief is still here. The pain. The sadness. The anxiety. The depression. The only difference may be that it isn’t as strong. This time last year I wanted to end my life. The heaviness was so heavy I couldn’t think of any other way to lighten the load. Simon was gone, nothing would ever bring him back. Little guy was gone, nothing would ever bring him back. My world was shattered into a million pieces and I didn’t know the first step in putting it back together.
People say time heals all wounds. I don’t believe them. These people have never experienced this level of pain. It’s not time. It’s work. Therapy. Patience. Self-care. Love. Kindness. It’s hobbies that create an escape and allow your brain and body to take a “break”. It’s friends that support you regardless of how hard you are to love in the moment. They support you even when you can’t support them. It’s venting when needed and remaining silent when necessary. It’s closing doors that no longer need to be open. It’s opening new doors when you are ready. It’s screaming into your pillow. Crying in the shower. Crying at the coffee shop. Crying in your car. Crying as you run, not sure of what you are running away from. It’s realizing that some people just won’t be there. And it’s letting them go even when that was the last thing you wanted or expected. It’s taking deep breaths until your eyes can finally see straight. It’s throwing rocks into a river like you never have before. It’s getting drunk sometimes day after day after day after day. It’s putting in headphones when you can’t listen to the conversation going on next to you. It’s leaving the room when you just can’t take it anymore. It’s saying no to enough invitations that you are no longer invited. It’s recognizing that the old you is not the new you and the new you is just as important. It’s being angry when your head is screaming and your eyes are raw and your mind is racing. It’s getting outside and letting the snow or the rain or the sun or the wind remind you that you are alive and that life is worth living. It’s hoping for the future when you don’t know what that looks likes and can no longer imagine making a plan. It’s not jumping off that cliff or driving into the nearest light pole or leaving your car running for too long in the garage when that’s the only way you can see past the pain. It’s listening to calm music at a coffee shop writing whatever it is you are feeling in that moment as tears hit the page and erase your words. It’s not caring if you are seen crying in public. It’s stepping outside of your comfort zone if you are ready or building a shell around yourself and hiding for as long as necessary if you aren’t. It’s finding your people wherever you can. It’s knowing that some of your old people just aren’t your people anymore, and that it sucks, but it’s okay. It’s holding on tight to the love and looking for love wherever you can find it. It’s staring at the sky and picking up pennies and picking pretty flowers and praying for rainbows. It’s “seeing” your loved one in public and imaging them with you today. It’s hearing their name and crying because it’s all you ever want to hear. It’s buying a Starbucks coffee for the person behind you in line because if your day has to be so terrible, there’s doesn’t. It’s watching TV with your toddler just so you can snuggle. Its hugging just a little bit longer.
It’s not time. It’s work. It’s a job you never applied for. Never interviewed for. It’s work without paid time off. It’s work that will remain hidden from any resume. It’s work without any vacation time. It’s work without 3-days weekends or weekends for that matter. It’s the hardest work you will ever do.
And it’s work that will never end, for as long as we love, we grieve.