There is this weird (mis)conception that grief is something you deal with for a period of time and then it’s over and everything’s back to normal, status quo. We put parameters and time limits on grieving that make us feel comfortable. Here’s the thing. Loss isn’t something that you get over. It is something that changes you. It can define you if you let it (Not recommended, for the record). Even if you have resolved not to give grief such power over you, there will still be days when grief sends you running for cover. Forever. They will become fewer and farther between, but they will come, often unexpectedly.
We’re 10 months out from our loss and if you asked I would tell you that in general I’m feeling better. Cooking, eating, cleaning, and other mundane daily life tasks are getting easier. I can listen to “Broken Hallelujah“, “Worn“, and “Oceans” without bursting into tears (this is a big deal!). I’m not *quite* so angry at God most of the time. I’m brave enough to talk to people who unintentionally said wounding things and every once in awhile, a dream for the future sneaks into my thoughts. On rare occasions when I’m feeling really brave, I might even take action that moves me toward those dreams (like writing here now!). But it’s not over. I’m not better. I was never really sick (at least not from grief, but that’s a story for another time). Just this morning I was triggered by a(n unrelated) doctor’s appointment and relived, in my mind, the trauma of our experience in the hospital. And I cried. Like it was fresh. All over again. One of the facilitators in our pregnancy and infant loss group calls these “grief bursts”. She’s ten years out from her loss and still has them. And it’s okay.
Healing does not come all at once and grief may send you running for cover months or years out from your loss. Accept it. Don’t settle, but take these moments (or days) as they come, and give yourself permission to hide. Stay at home. Cancel your appointments. Forget your agenda. Read a good book. Take a long nap. Cry until your face is so puffy you’re unrecognizable even to yourself. Hug your Molly Bear. Scream into your pillow. Or yell at God (He made the world, so I’m pretty sure He can handle it). Draw. Write. Create. Breathe. Do what you need to do to take care of yourself. The world will go on and tomorrow is a new day. Allow yourself the and tomorrow pick yourself up and slowly come back out of your hiding place to join the world. More likely than not, it will still be turning. Your loss will never disappear, but you can make something good out of it. You can still make your life something beautiful.