It has been 26 years since my grandparents died. They passed away within 3 months of each other and they were the first people in my life to pass away that I was close to and loved dearly. May of this year marked 9 years that we said goodbye to my father, and this November, it will be 3 years that I exist without my mom. Sometimes that is so hard to believe and yet there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about her; my grief for her is profound. I smile when I am reminded of her and a song on the radio can at times bring instant tears.
We often think that grief is a process that we go through and then let go. Rather I would argue that it is an integrative process. Grief must enter all of our cells; it must do the work of reconciliation, incorporating all of our complicated feelings into something that eventually will feel somewhat okay. Grief comes with its own suitcase, it needs to move in.
Grief, as in everything else, exists on a continuum and it tends to be relative to the relationship. Processing the loss is the important work of grief – but it isn’t something we go through and let go. Rather we grow around grief. Knowing this can help with the process – it can remind us that grief doesn’t need to be an unwanted house guest, but instead a lovely inhabitant of the guest house. One that we will need to visit from time to time but we can also take our space from; knowing that by growing around grief, we continue to do our healthy work.
Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@convertkit