Grief comes in all kinds of forms, doesn’t it? It can be the grief of a broken relationship, the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, even the loss of organs through a surgical procedure.
This week, my dad’s brother died. At 74, he was the one closest to Dad in age, Dad being the baby of the family. In February his oldest brother died at 92. Though I can’t say they were “close” there is a bond between the siblings in Dad’s family that is born of experiencing the same household, same parents, and the basic love that comes from being family. And even though they weren’t close, my dad has taken these deaths hard. It’s been difficult to watch my stoic father cry.
I wasn’t personally close to either man, though I felt certain connection to the younger one for a myriad of reasons. Still, it is the loss of family that brings home to me the mortality of my parents.
Dad’s sister asked him to contact his brother’s first set of children (let’s just say the man got around), to let them know of his passing. Because that part of his brother’s family has been estranged, Dad had no idea how to go about that. So I tracked down the oldest son, and was able to reach him. In doing so, I had to tell him by phone that his father had died. He was stoic, as you might expect. I teared up, but held it in check.
At the funeral, I learned that one of the cousins I was close to growing up had survived breast cancer and a double mastectomy. She is currently cancer free. I held her in my arms as we walked around in the parking lot to talk, and it was difficult not to cry for her loss and recovery.
Friday was one of my favorite co-worker’s last day. She’s moving across country to a new job and to be closer to her family. Once again, I felt the tears coming as I left work, but stemmed it.
To say the least, this has been a week of loss, and grief, as well as gratefulness. And, as a conscious, heart-centered woman, I’ve focused on the grateful. Today, though, I’ve realized I’ve short changed myself by not honoring the many losses of the week. As a result, my emotions have been at the surface all weekend, tears at the ready at any given moment. My mind awash with relative chaotic thought processes. I’ve yet to allow myself the flood of emotion and sadness that keeps creeping into my mind.
I haven’t honored my grief, and allowed it the expression it requires.
It doesn’t have to be a life altering event for grief to need expressed. It can be as simple and uncomplicated as a co-worker moving away, to the complexity of the many layers of lost youth, and everything in between. And it doesn’t even have to be our own loss that causes us the feelings of grief.
Grief is a part of our emotional makeup – of our soul’s makeup. It has its place in healing. It has its place in growth. By stemming it, and now allowing it free reign as it comes, it stockpiles. And then one day you break a nail, and your world completely collapses in it.
So, honor grief when it comes knocking. Allow it to swallow you, feel it, experience it. When you get through it, feel the relief and the true appreciation you’ll have for those things and people who remain afterward. Then embrace every joy you can as it comes.